Following Directions Social Stories

Instructor: Amanda Robb

Amanda holds a Masters in Science from Tufts Medical School in Cellular and Molecular Physiology. She has taught high school Biology and Physics for 8 years.

In this lesson, we'll go over a difficult skill for some students, following directions. We'll briefly review what a social story is and then go over some examples you can use with your own students.

Giving Directions and Social Stories

For autistic and other special needs students, understanding how their actions affect other people, including their thoughts and feelings, can be difficult. One way this presents in the classroom is while teachers are giving directions. To help your students with autism and special needs follow directions, try using social stories. As short, first person narratives, social stories show students what they are doing, why they do it, how other people might react and what they can do differently.

In these next sections, we'll look at some examples of social stories that will help your students follow directions in different situations. For added impact, think about accompanying each sentence with a picture.

Following Directions in the Classroom

Starting a New Activity!

When my class is about to start a new activity, my teacher gives directions.

Directions are important.

Directions tell me what to do next and make sure I stay safe.

Sometimes, I don't listen to directions because I am distracted.

If I am distracted, I don't hear the directions and I don't know what to do.

This makes my teacher upset because she wants to me to know what to do so I can learn.

I like learning. Learning is fun.

I need to pay attention when my teacher gives directions so I can learn.

While my teacher is giving directions, I will look at her and be quiet so I can hear what she is saying.

Changing Activities

Before my class changes activities, my teacher gives directions.

I don't always like to change activities.

I like what we are doing, and doing something different feels scary.

My teacher asks us to do different activities, so we can learn different things.

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