Review: A Very Simple Guide to Writing Effective Social Stories

A Very Simple Guide to Writing Effective Social Stories – A.A Mahmood

A Very Simple Guide to Writing Social Stories.pngLike many interventions, strategies, and supports within the field of autism and SEND, Social Stories have some reasonable anecdotal evidence for their effectiveness but little in the way of scientific research. Even the meta-analysis that I read recently – which grouped together all the studies it could find on Social Stories which didn’t have methodological issues – was limited in its conclusions for a wide range of reasons.

Still, in the world of weighing up risks against possible outcomes, Social Stories carry very little in the way of risk. If they don’t work then they can be stopped quite easily and the Social Stories discarded. I think this is the audience that this Simple Guide was targeting. It’s clear that Mahmood had read about Social Stories, and includes the key factor of making sure that wording is not too definitive as well as a few other useful tips. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to see what the benefit is of buying this book instead of just going online and find free information on Google.

There are no pictures in this book which mean the examples are limited to a handful of text-only Social Stories – a very limited sample of the possibilities. It also really is a short introduction. Whilst Mahmood writes that this is so parents and professionals can just get started without being overwhelmed with details, this book really doesn’t give the basic depth needed. One theme amongst the limited research into Social Stories is that for them to have the best chance of having an impact, they need to be structured and written in particular ways. This book simply doesn’t provide the detail needed to do that. It also makes reference to the examples of other supports (like the 5-point scale for volume) without explaining what it is.

Worth reading?

The advice is alright but it’s just too short and all the information (and more) can be found free online.

Value for money?

If you have Kindle Unlimited then sure – it’s part of your subscription. Otherwise, I don’t think even the £0.99 is worth it given the fact that you can get better information from Carol Grey’s own website for free.

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