Social Stories on Bus Behavior

Instructor: Lori Sturdivant

Lori has a specialist's degree in Instructional Leadership/Mild Moderate and currently serves as the Lead Teacher for The University of Southern Mississippi's Autism Project.

Are you looking for fun and engaging social stories on appropriate bus behavior? This lesson will provide you with examples and instructions for creating your own individualized social stories on bus behavior.

What Are Social Stories?

Social stories are narratives designed to improve the social skills of people with autism spectrum disorder, but they can be used for any person with deficits in social skills. They teach desired social skills by describing different scenarios and what to do in each one.

Narrative Examples

Let's take a look at two example social stories that you can use to teach students about bus behavior. Later in the lesson, we will discuss how you can personalize these stories, which is why each line is numbered for reference.

Johnny is a Good Morning Bus Rider

Line 1: When Johnny gets ready for school in the morning, he has his backpack and lunch ready before the school bus pulls up to his house.

Line 2: When the bus comes, he says 'bye' to his dad and gets on the bus right away.

Line 3: Johnny sits in the seat three rows behind the driver as soon as he gets on the bus.

Line 4: Johnny puts on his seat belt, and then he puts his backpack and lunchbox on his lap.

Line 5: Johnny talks very quietly with his friend on the same seat as him.

Line 6: Johnny looks at his Accelerated Reader book while he is riding the bus, and he makes sure to put his book back in his backpack when the bus pulls up to the school.

Line 7: If Johnny has a problem on the bus, he can ask the bus driver for help.

Line 8: When the bus gets to school, Johnny waits for the people on the first two rows to get off the bus, then he gets off the bus.

Line 9: Johnny walks straight into the school and to his class when he gets off the bus.

Johnny is a Good Afternoon Bus Rider

Line 1: When Johnny gets ready for dismissal in the afternoon, he has his backpack and lunchbox ready before the bell rings to go home.

Line 2: When the bus comes, he says 'bye' to his teacher and walks down the hallway and out the door to the bus.

Line 3: Johnny sits in the seat directly behind the bus driver as soon as he gets on the bus.

Line 4: Johnny puts on his seat belt, and then he puts his backpack and lunchbox on his lap.

Line 5: Johnny does not talk on the school bus.

Line 6: Johnny plays with his tablet on the bus. Johnny doesn't let his friends borrow his tablet. If someone asks to use his tablet, Johnny says, 'I'm sorry, but I'm not allowed to share this.'

Line 7: If Johnny has a problem on the bus, he can ask the driver for help.

Line 8: When the bus gets to Johnny's house, Johnny waits for the bus to come to a complete stop, and then he gets off the bus. The driver tells Johnny it is time to get off the bus.

Line 9: Johnny walks straight to his door and goes inside his house.

The Structure of Social Stories

These social stories are positive. They're made up of behaviors Johnny should demonstrate, such as talking quietly to the friend sitting beside him. The story does not tell Johnny what is bad or what not to do; social stories should focus on the behaviors that you want the student to demonstrate.

Also, if your students have trouble with flexible thinking, you may need to include 'what if...' statements. For example, you could write, 'If Johnny has a problem and the bus driver can not help, Johnny asks _____ for help.'

How to Individualize Social Stories

You can really connect with your students if you use actual pictures of your students, familiar locations, etc. in your own social stories. Real-life pictures make the stories more relevant, relatable, and effective. Make sure to get permission from your administrators and parents to use pictures of the students and school property.

Our example stories specify 'morning' and 'afternoon' bus behavior. Keep in mind that many schools have do not use the same driver for pick-up and drop-off routes, and the other people students encounter will also vary. You must be explicit with instructions and details. Let's look at ways you can personalize the morning and afternoon bus ride example social stories.

Morning Bus Ride Social Story

Lines 1 and 4: Use your student's name and the actual supplies the student brings to school.

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