Transitions: using Social Stories to facilitate change for students with special needs

Georgina Mary Reynhout, Mark Carter

    Research output: Contribution to journalConference paperpeer-review


    Transitions are potential sources of great stress, anxiety and concern for students with special needs and their families. Social Stories™ are one of a number of interventions designed to facilitate transitions and assist individuals with special needs to cope socially and emotionally with change. Gray (2007) states that "A Social Story™ describes a situation, skill, or concept in terms of relevant social cues, perspectives, and common responses in a specifically defined style and format" (p.2). Thus, the aim of a Social Story is to increase social understanding. Since Social Stories were first defined by Gray and Garand (1993) there has been considerable revision of the published guidelines relating to their construction and implementation. These changes have been made with very little, if any, theoretical rationale or reference to research-based evidence and this may be a source of confusion for practitioners. Findings are presented in this article in relation to the efficacy of Social Stories as used in research and used by teachers and other professionals to facilitate transitions. It is evident that there remain many questions in relation to the validity of the recommended guidelines, which to date have not undergone rigorous scientific investigation. Teachers are advised to first consider available empirical evidence when selecting interventions to assist students with special needs in transitions. If Social Stories are to be used, given the available empirical evidence, it is suggested that teachers have a high level of professional responsibility to collect data on student performance and carefully monitor progress.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)61-71
    Number of pages11
    JournalSpecial Education Perspectives
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2009
    EventAASE-PASS Conference - Melbourne
    Duration: 16 Apr 200917 Apr 2009


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