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CAR Autism Roadmap
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CAR Autism Roadmap
Roberts Center for Pediatric Research
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Play Date Social Stories


Social Stories™ describe an event or situation with the intent of explaining the circumstances, perspectives, and expected behaviors that occur during the event or situation. To be effective, Social Stories™ should be highly individualized. Usually, they are written in the first-person, from the point of view of the child. They can be particularly helpful when preparing for an out of the ordinary situation, such as hosting or going to a play date. Once created, a Social Story™ should be read to the individual many times until the expectations conveyed in the story are well understood.

The Social Story™ should include photos or pictures of the activities at the play date. This can be done fairly easily using a digital camera. There are even iPad® apps designed to help families write Social Stories™.

To prepare your child for a play date, consider the following ideas for Social Stories™. Depending on your child, you may need to make the stories much more specific. For example, you may need to describe what taking turns looks like or build in the need for flexibility if things don’t go as planned.

Social Story 1. Visiting my house for a play date

  1. My friend comes to my house.
  2. We say “Hi.”
  3. We can play Hi Ho Cherri O or Concentration. I let my friend choose.
  4. We take a break for snack.
  5. We will have juice and pretzels.
  6. We play outside drawing with chalk on the driveway.
  7. I let my friend choose the color first.
  8. It is time for my friend to go home.
  9. We had a good time. We say “Good bye.”

Social Story 2. Visiting my house for an after school play date

  1. My friend comes home with me after school.
  2. My friend sits next to me in the back of mom’s car.
  3. When we get, home Mom gives us juice and chips for snack.
  4. After we both finish our snack, we play with Legos.
  5. I might start to feel tired and might not want to share my Legos anymore.
  6. I know that my friend will go home soon and I will have the Legos all to myself soon.
  7. It’s time for my friend to go home.
  8. We say “Goodbye.”

Social Story 3. Visiting at a friend’s house

  1. Mom and I go to my friend’s house.
  2. We drive to her house in a different way.
  3. We get to her house – it doesn’t look like my house.
  4. We say “Hi” and go to play with her toys.
  5. I like her kitchen set, and I don’t want her to play with me.
  6. This is a play date, and I need to share the toys with her even though I don’t want to.
  7. We stop for a snack; if I don’t like what her mom gives me, I can ask her for something else, like crackers or goldfish or say “No, thank you.”
  8. After snack, it is time to go home.
  9. We say “Goodbye.”

Social Story 4. A play date at the park

  1. We meet my friend and his babysitter at the park.
  2. There are swings, slides, and climbing toys.
  3. I go on the swings; mom pushes me.
  4. He climbs on the ladders.
  5. Then I climb on the ladders too. We both take turns.
  6. Mom and the babysitter talk.
  7. It’s time to go home and I climb into my stroller.
  8. Mom gives me a snack to eat on the way home.

Additional Resources:

The Center for Autism Research and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia do not endorse or recommend any specific person or organization or form of treatment. The information included within the CAR Autism Roadmap™ and CAR Resource Directory™ should not be considered medical advice and should serve only as a guide to resources publicly and privately available. Choosing a treatment, course of action, and/or a resource is a personal decision, which should take into account each individual's and family's particular circumstances.