Does it work?
Recent research studies show that social stories can help reduce problem behaviors, increase social awareness, and/or teach new skills. In some cases, the new behaviors were maintained and generalized to other situations, even after the story was faded out. Social stories are most useful for children who have basic language skills (2).
To date, research studies on social stories have only had very small numbers of children (one to five children per study). One review article found that social stories were shown to be significantly effective on average, but not in every case (3). Another recent review article found that the limited studies available showed generally positive results, and concluded that the approach is promising (4).
Social stories have been used by teachers in the classroom. The teachers found them to be helpful (9). Another study reported improved social skills using a computer to present the stories in a school setting (10).
Although social stories in picture-book form are available for children with hearing impairments, there is no research to date on whether social stories have the same effectiveness if communicated with sign language.
More research is needed to understand what factors make social stories effective in some cases and not in others (4, 11, 12).