Social Stories About Listening

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.

Listening is a skill that can challenge students with autism or ADHD. This lesson offers examples of how social stories can be used to help students become better listeners when communicating with parents, teacher and classmates.

Social Stories for Listening

Most students have trouble at times listening when they should, but listening can be especially challenging for students with autism or ADHD. These students can have trouble understanding how their actions impact others and reading social cues.

One strategy you can use to help your students learn to become better listeners is called a social story. Social stories are short narratives written in the first person that describe a challenging situation for a student. They describe the student's feelings, behaviors, effects on other people, and how to behave appropriately. You can personalize social stories to your student and include pictures.

Let's look at some examples of social stories about listening.

Listening to Parents

These social stories discuss listening to parents to stay safe outside the home and to follow directions.

Going Out

My parents love me. I love my parents, too. Sometimes, my parents have to tell me important information to keep me safe when we go out. When we go out, my parents tell me to stay with them and not run away. It's important to stay with my parents. If I stay with my parents I will be safe. I like being safe.

But, I don't always listen when my parents tell me what to do. I get distracted by things I see or hear. If I don't listen to my parents and know what to do, I can get lost or hurt. I don't want to be lost or hurt. I should listen to my parents when we go out so I can stay safe. I like being safe. Being safe makes me happy. When I am safe my parents are happy, too.

Show students what good emotions look like so they can recognize them
happy parents

Following Directions

I like playing with my toys at home. When I play with my toys I feel happy. After I am done playing with my toys, my mom tells me to clean up. I like playing with my toys so much, I don't hear my mom tell me to clean up.

When I don't clean up, my mom is upset. She doesn't understand why I didn't listen to her. She doesn't know I was too excited about my toys to hear her.

But, if I don't listen to my mom she will be upset. I don't want my mom to be upset. I want her to be happy. If my mom is happy I will be happy, too.

When my mom comes over to me, I should stop playing with my toys so I can listen to her. If I hear her instructions I can do what my mom asks. Then my mom will be happy and I will be happy, too.

Listening to Teachers

Here are social stories about paying attention to the teacher and not disrupting the class.

Being Distracted

I go to school to learn from my teacher. I like learning. Learning makes me happy. When we are at school, my teacher reads to us so we can learn new things.

Sometimes when my teacher is reading, I don't listen. I am distracted by other things in the room, and I don't pay attention. If I don't listen to what my teacher is saying, I won't learn as much. I like learning. When I learn I am happy and my teacher is happy, too.

When my teacher talks I should listen. I can face forward and look at my teacher. I should sit near the front so I can pay more attention. If I listen when my teacher talks I will learn, and I will be happy.

Show students images of positive behavior in your social story

Creating Disruption

I really like making noise. When I feel stressed, making noise helps me calm down. I can just focus on the noises I'm making and not on other stuff that's bothering me. But, sometimes we have to be quiet.

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