Social Stories for Group Work

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.

Looking for social stories about working in groups? This lesson offers sample social stories that target different challenging behaviors and their motivations during group work.

What Are Social Stories?

Group work can be challenging for any student, but, group work is especially hard for students with autism. Students with autism struggle to interpret nonverbal cues, understand social norms, and identify with the emotional state of other people.

Social stories can help students with autism be successful in situations that require interpersonal skills, such as group work. Social stories are short, first person narratives that describe a challenging situation for a student, explain how people are feeling, and identify how the student can react appropriately.

Examples of Social Stories for Group Work

Let's look at some examples of social stories that address common problems for students with autism during group work.

Interpreting Social Cues

When I work with my classmates, I don't always understand what I am supposed to do. My classmates don't say exactly what I should do, or how they feel. My classmates understand what other people mean without them having to say it. My brain doesn't work this way, so sometimes I do things my classmates don't like. This makes it hard to work in a group.

But, I need to work in a group so I can learn. I like learning. I can ask my teacher for help learning how to work with my classmates better. My teacher can help me understand what they mean, and help me use good behavior. That way, I will do well in my group work. If I do well in group work, I can learn more. Then I will be happy because learning makes me happy.

Use images to help students understand what emotions look like on themselves and other people
sad student

Staying Calm

School can be overwhelming for me. There are a lot of noises, sounds and people. My classmates don't think school is overwhelming. So, they don't always understand why I get so upset.

Being overwhelmed makes me want to be alone. But, sometimes I have to work in a group, even if I want to be alone. When I get overwhelmed in my group, I want to run away to be alone. But, if I run away my group can't do our project.

Running away makes my group members sad because I don't help with our group work. I want my group members to be happy, not sad. So, I should stay in our group. If I feel overwhelmed I can ask the teacher for help to calm down. That way I can stay in the group and my group members and I will be happy.

Being Flexible

In groups, we have to talk to each other to work together. Sometimes I have ideas that I think are really good. But, other people might have different ideas that they like better. It's okay if we have different ideas. Sometimes, if our group doesn't want to do my idea, I get upset. I feel sad because I wanted to do my idea, and I don't like to change. Change feels scary to me and it feels better to do the plan I thought of.

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