Add Life to Social Stories….Comic Life!

Social Stories are one of my favorite tools to help model and shape behaviors. If you are not familiar with Social Stories, check out Carol Gray’s website (Carol Gray first defined social stories in 1991).  Here is a new twist to put life into your Social Stories using the Comic Life app on your iPad or Comic Life 2 for your Mac or PC. Comic Life provides templates, fonts, panels and caption balloons to help you create a comic using your photos.

I wish I could say that I came up with the idea to use Comic Life to create Social Stories, but I was introduced to this little gem by Adrienne Day and Joshua Taylor, two extraordinary special educators at the Stratford Program in Arlington, Virginia public schools. Adrienne and Josh created this Comic Life Social Story for our shared client, Ben, who has a tendency to get distracted from his work by items that are out of place or need “fixing.” Ben was a full participant in this venture! He posed for the pictures, helped create the text, and format the comic. Each step is an excellent opportunity to practice social skills, follow directions, organize and plan, and use expressive language!

It is time for desk work…but there are papers and pencils out of place!  (I love how they are calling out for help!).  Ben stays focused and completes his work!

Ben indicates that he is finished with his work and cleans up the mess!

Order is restored and now it is time for a break!  Everyone is happy – Ben stayed on task, the mess is clean now, time to celebrate!  Great job Ben!

What a cool way to shape desired behaviors! There are so many ways to use Comic Life:

  • Create a comic of your summer vacation
  • Narrate a special event  (pool party, award ceremony, birthday)
  • Make a fun behavior expectation chart (good sitting, cleaning up toys, playing nicely with siblings)
  • Work through a problem (bullying, approaching kids on the play ground, spending the night with grandparents)
  • Design a comic featuring target speech sounds to practice articulation (ex: “Super Steve saves the Solar System!”)

Added bonus – so many opportunities to work on language, executive function and social skills!

  • Discuss the problem and possible solutions
  • Go through photos and select the appropriate pictures for your comic
  • Set up a photo shoot!  Role play through your comic and snap some photos!
  • Organize your ideas and how the will best fit into your comic
  • Develop the narrative (all kinds of opportunities for language, spelling and reading practice!)
  • EDIT!
  • Share (email to family and friends, post on Facebook, Tweet your story)

Can you think of other uses for this great application? Please share them with us!

P.S. Sorry for the long hiatus on the blog. There has been a lot of growth at Growing Kids Therapy Center the last few months!  Look for more blogs coming up and see how we have been growing! ~Elizabeth


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