Social stories and social thinking

Social storiesTM were created by Carol Gray in 1991 to help teach social skills to people on the autism spectrum. They are short descriptions of a particular situation, event or activity, which include specific information about what to expect in that situation and why.

What are comic strip conversations?

Comic strip conversations, also created by Carol Gray, are simple visual representations of the different levels of communication in a conversation. For example, they could show:

  • the things that are actually said in a conversation
  • how people might be feeling
  • what people’s intentions might be.

Comic strip conversations use symbols, stick figure drawings and colour. By seeing the different elements of a conversation presented visually, some of the more abstract aspects of social communication (such as recognising the feelings of others) are made more ‘concrete’ and are therefore easier to understand.

The terms ‘social story’ and ‘social stories’ are trademarks originated and owned by Carol Gray. All rights reserved.

Social Thinking is a social skills curriculum developed by Michelle Garcia Winner. The curriculum is intended for students with social learning disabilities, especially those with autistic spectrum conditions. Its main focus is on teaching students to think about how others perceive them.

Social thinking is what individuals do when interacting with other people: namely, they think about them. Most people take social thinking for granted, as it is generally an intuitive process that considers the points of view, emotions, and intentions of others. In neurotypical people, social thinking is hard-wired neurologically at birth and learned intuitively from infancy. Children with autism spectrum disorders generally do not intuitively learn social information the way neurotypical children do. Those with ASD and related social learning challenges who are “higher functioning” need to be cognitively taught how to think socially and understand the use of related social skills.

While these challenges are commonly experienced by individuals with autism spectrum disorders (high-functioning), social communication disorder, Asperger’s, ADHD, nonverbal learning disability (NLD) and similar diagnoses, children and adults experiencing social learning difficulties often have received no diagnosis.