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Social Stories™ are short stories that utilize visual and auditory components to demonstrate how to appropriately respond in problematic social situations. Studies have provided evidence of the effectiveness of Social Stories™ in reducing negative behaviors for children with autism; however, limited research exists on the effectiveness of Social Stories™ for other populations of children. The purpose of the present study was to determine the efficacy of Social Stories™ on decreasing undesirable behaviors in typically developing preschool children.
The study included 11 children, ages 3 to 5, who were enrolled in a typical preschool classroom at a daycare facility. Initially, teachers completed a survey to identify undesirable behaviors of each participant that interfered with their classroom performance. The researchers and teacher chose one target behavior for each participant based on ratings of frequency of occurrence, severity level, and impact on classroom performance. The behaviors targeted for intervention were common disruptive behaviors considered severely aggressive or extremely harmful. The participants were separated into two groups, a treatment group who received social story intervention and a control group. A Social Story™ was generated for each participant in the treatment group to address the targeted behavior.
The five children in the treatment group were read a customized social story twice per school day for six weeks. The six children in the control group did not receive social story intervention. During the six-week experimental period, three behavior observations were completed for all participants. Pre-intervention, mid-point (three-weeks), and post-intervention observations utilized a behavior checklist to record frequency and duration of the target behaviors. In addition, following the six-week intervention period, teachers completed the initial survey again to determine perceptions of frequency of occurrence, severity level, and functional impact of the target behavior for each participant (in both treatment and control groups).
Analysis of the behavioral observations demonstrated a statistically significant decrease in frequency of disruptive behaviors for the experimental group. While a decrease in the duration of behaviors was noted, it was not statistically significant. No change in behavior was documented in teachers' subjective ratings. Maintenance of the decreased target behaviors was not demonstrated eight weeks post intervention.
Berbaum, Loni, "Efficacy of Social Stories™ for Typically Developing Preschool Children" (2014). Undergraduate Honors Theses. 103.