The effectiveness of social stories™ to develop social interactions with adults with characteristics of autism spectrum disorder



Accessible summary

  •  Social Stories™ were used to help three adults with autism and one with Prader–Willi syndrome to change their behaviour.
  •  The Social Stories were helpful for each person for a short time.
  •  The adults and staff helpers enjoyed using the Social Stories.


Most research into the effectiveness of Social Stories has focused on children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). This study examines the use of Social Stories with four adults with learning disabilities and social communication impairments characteristic of ASD. This study employed an N = 1 multiple-baseline, across-participant, AB design with fade and maintenance probe stages. Each participant was involved in two Social Story interventions. The intervention and data collection was carried out by support staff who knew the participants. Results found that all target behaviours showed positive change during at least one phase of the study, although data indicated a return towards baseline levels across all behaviours into the probe phase. Social Stories had positive effect on improving social interaction in adults with social interaction impairments, even though this effect was short-lived. As the behaviours targeted were long standing, longer intervention which is context-specific may enable more permanent changes to occur.