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Review by Adirondack AccessAbility Inc., Common Sense Education | Updated February 2014

Social Stories

Quick and simple behavior-reinforcement tool for kids with autism

Subjects & skills

  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Character & SEL
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
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Pros: It's an easy way for kids to author and share social stories.

Cons: More integrated support and suggestions could help new users get started.

Bottom Line: Teachers will find this an efficient way to engage their students in understanding and creating social stories.

For successful use, teachers will often play a key role in the social stories kids choose to interpret and create. Kids can improve their ability to learn from the stories by becoming more familiar and comfortable with the app.

The first step in helping kids get set up is to assist them in developing a library of pertinent photos and images. As necessary (or appropriate), work with students to develop stories that are relevant and meaningful to their social learning. As kids progress, guide them towards more independence, both within the app and in the real-world social situations they're likely to encounter.

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Social Stories is a basic tool for creating and sharing multiple-page social stories. Each page can contain an image, text, and audio clip. Audio clips are recorded directly through the device; images can be one of 11 included samples, taken directly using the device's camera, or anything imported from the device library. The app doesn't have any instructions, but the interface is mostly easy to use.

Social Stories serves as a quick and simple way for kids to create social narratives that they might encounter in real life; it's intended for kids on the autism spectrum, or for any others who might benefit from a structured, predictable, story-based behavior reinforcement. The app is authored by Carol Gray, the Director of The Gray Center for Social Learning and Understanding and a recognized expert in the area of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

Social Stories is a basic tool that fulfills an important need for kids on the autism spectrum. While the platform for creating and telling social stories is relatively basic, the stories themselves -- and their relation to kids' lives -- are where the app's learning potential really lies. The value kids get out of it will depend heavily on what teachers put into it. Used strategically, Social Stories can be a great tool for helping kids understand and appropriately handle different social situations.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

The combination of pictures, text, and audio will help engage most kids. The consistent, predictable learning design will help keep their attention.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Kids can learn how to navigate social situations before they happen -- they'll be able to transfer what they've learned to their real lives.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

While the built-in supports are pretty basic, the app's user-friendly design makes it fairly easy to figure out.

Common Sense Reviewer
Adirondack AccessAbility Inc. Assistive Technology Consultants & Trainers

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