Using the iPad to Create Social Stories

We hear a lot about the term ‘Social Stories’ in the field of Autism and there is a lot of discussion about how to use them for children on the Spectrum. I personally believe that Social Stories can be a really powerful tool that can be used for children who need visual cues and demonstrations to assist with concept development, behavior modification, and transitions and change management. As we use iPads and tablets more and more, it makes sense to also use the technology to create our social stories.



Social Stories are a tool or strategy used to establish replacement social skills for both children and adults who have Autism and other learning disabilities. A social story gives a student information about social situations they find difficult or confusing. It prepares them for what is ahead and gives them time to process information. Social stories are a strength-based teaching strategy which builds on natural skills and behavior.


Below is an example of how we can use a social story to replace a 'negative' behavior. This instance is where we want the child to keep their hands to themselves instead of lashing out when they are upset or angry.





Social Stories are also a great tool that prepares for:


  •  any social situation that may be difficult
  •  situations that may be challenging such as tests, group work, experiments etc.
  •  changes in the individual’s routine
  •  any upcoming event, such as an excursion, incursion, camp, sports day etc.
  •  what happens after the event or change


Social Stories can be used to:


  •  change an unwanted behavior
  •  encourage positive behavior or actions
  •  alleviate stress and anxiety
  •  visually explain a concept or idea that might be challenging or difficult to understand
  •  create consistency and routine
  •  transition between one event to another; or from one developmental stage to another i.e. toileting





What to consider when creating a Social Story



  •  State the situation & what is to come.
  •  Show where the child is 'in' this situation. i.e. Jack is going to a camp, instead of the class is going on camp). OR
  •  State the behavior you want to change.
  •  Show pictures of where the student will be going if this is an excursion or camp. OR
  •  State what the alternative positive behavior should be.
  •  Briefly describe what they might be doing.
  •  Use as many photos as possible.
  •  Reassure the student.



Using technology to create Social Stories

Click here to view a Youtube video demonstrating how to create a Social Story using the app Keynote.




like this app for creating Social Stories because I think it is extremely versatile, however you can also use one of the apps that are designed specifically to create Social Stories. Click on this link to be taken to a Social Story I made for my students who were going on a School Camp.


Another app I particularly like is Kid in Story. Kid in Story also features several story templates that you can add pictures of your students into making it very easy to adjust for each student. You can also create your own story from scratch.




Social Stories Creator is an app that has built in comic style social stories but also has the create function so you can build your own content. It is free, but there are in app purchases on a variety of social situations or events.





Other Apps that you can use:


 Stories About Me



Strip Designer







 Social Stories




Karina D. Barley, GradDipEd, Posgrad DipEd, Med (SpEd), is an Australian teacher with over 20 years’ experience in both mainstream and special education. Her interest in Autism and how to provide better educational opportunities for her students led her to iPads. Karina conducts professional development for teachers in Australia, works as an Autism Consultant and conducts a number of online courses on iPads in Education, Autism Awareness, and 21st Century Education. She can be contacted through her website: 




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