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Social Stories, Social Information & Activities and Visuals & Sequences

This page will be updated as and when new information and documentation becomes available, please keep checking!


Resources to Support Returning to School



Here you will find a combination of Social Stories, Visual Strips, Activity Sheets and Information Booklets for returning to school.




Back to School Parent/Carers Toolkit  https://toolkit.mindroom.org/parentstoolkit/


Communication Friendly Environments 



School Closure Toolkit


















Updated 01.07.20








 NAIT_Returning_to_School_Key_Messages_ Poster.pdf



 Physical_Activity_for_5_to_18 Year Olds.jpg


 Preparing_Your_Child_for_Returning_to_ School.pdf






 Simple_Guide_for_ASN_Kids_Returning_to_ School.pptx




During_Covid Isolation.pdf

 The Mouth.pdf



 Transition_Guidance_Return_to_Highland_ Schools.pdf






Social Stories


Social Stories were created by Carol Gray. 

The goal of a social story is to share accurate information clearly and safely.  It focuses on the underlying causes of frustration or misinformation that children feel due to them understanding the world in a different way to us.

It should identify the cause of the misunderstanding and give information to the child in a much simpler and more visual way. The goal of a social story is NOT to change the child’s behaviour. It is to help the child understand the situation better and this often then leads to an improvement in behaviour.

The stories you will find on this page have been written to explain Co-vid 19 and how the virus has caused all our lives to change quite dramatically.

Depending on your child’s level of understanding you might be able to use them as they are, or you may need to adapt them slightly to use words that are simpler or familiar to your child. This is fine. 

You can also personalise them by adding additional text or characters that your child likes - we would NOT advise that you make the story significantly longer though as this may get confusing.

For more information, and how to present the story to your child, we would encourage you to watch The Social Stories film on our website or clicking the link


and the Youtube clip by Carol Gray herself https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjlIYYbVIrI


If you need help to rewrite/adapt a story or indeed tackle a topic not listed here please contact:

Shona MacPherson or Rachael Geddes at  the.pines@highland.gov.uk


New documents added - Social Story - School is Opening & Going Back to School






Updated 16.06.2020






 Going Back to School.docx




 School is Opening - Version 1.docx

 School is Opening - Version 2.docx

 School is Opening - Version 3.docx






 visiting _Granny_and_Grandpa.png


 Washing_our_hands_during_Covid_19_ No_1.pdf

 Washing_our_hands_during_Covid_19_ No_2.pdf





Social Information & Activities



There is a varied selection of fun videos, information about Coronavirus in various formats and activities to occupy different age groups here. 

These include things such as: 

  • An interactive PowerPoint shopping list  

  • Short Makaton films that are Covid related suitable for teenagers with a learning Disability   

  • Suggested activities to keep all ages of children occupied  

  • Easy read leaflets from the Prime Minister and the NHS 

  • Information about school closures  


There are also some useful websites for you to browse. 


Communication for All:  Interactive Shopping List

Communication for All: Instructions

Covid-19 Information with Makaton  11 Short Videos - Various Topics

A Book for Children Coronavirus

Wearing Masks Autism & Fear - Wearing Masks

New - For more on support for return to school:this video is useful 


Return to school - OK not OK - Guidance and Visuals


OK not OK Board



Autism Alert Cards - Scotland - Having one of these cards will give an exemption from using a face covering.  Pdf version also available in document section to the right.  My Child is Autistic and This Person is Autistic cards available.



Google Live Transcribe - Communicating with hard of hearing patients while wearing a face mask. A paramedic has found an innovative way to communicate with hard of hearing patients while wearing a face mask. For Android Phones only.







Updated 29.07.2020






Age_5-10_ Activities_to_keep_them_occupied.docx



 Covid19_school_closure _SS.pdf

 Covid_19_Time_Capsule_by_LONG_ Creations.pdf

 Keeping-your_teenagers_ occupied_during_self_solation.docx




 NHS111_EasyRead_   Leaflet_WebAcc_2019_FINAL2.pdf






Visuals & Sequences



First – Then Board  

This is a small timeline which only displays 2 symbols or photos at a time. 




First – Then boards can be used to: 

  • Begin using visuals to help a child/young person predict what will happen next. 

  • Introduce the concept of a sequence – one thing happens, then another. It is useful to sometimes make the second activity something that is very motivating for the child or young person. 

  • Encourage children to participate in adult-directed activities. 


How do I use a First-Then board? 

Decide  what  task  you  want  the  child  to  complete  first (what goes in the “first” box) and  the preferred item or activity (what goes in the “then” box). 

  • Choose the symbols/pictures needed and put them on the board. 

  • Show each symbol/picture and say: “First story, then computer” 

  • Take  them to  the 'First'  activity  -  if  they find  it  difficult  to  attend,  point  to  the 'First' symbol  again  and remind  them: "It's  time  for story"

  • Once  the  ‘First’  activity  is  finished,  give  them  the ‘then’ activity/item.  Move this symbol to the top. 

  • Place another symbol in the ‘then’ box to show that the board will always tell the child what will happen next. 

  • Aim to gradually increase the length of time at the ‘First’ activity. 


Visual Timelines 

A visual  timeline is a way to visually  display the structure of time.  For children  who  find it  challenging to understand  verbal  language, a visual timeline can provide some predictability and  help to reduce anxiety about what is happening


How do I use a Visual Timeline? 

  • Visual timelines run from top to bottom.  

  • What is happening now should always be displayed at the top of the timeline. The events that follow run underneath.  

  • When an activity is finished, take the symbol/picture off (or ask the child or young person to take off) and post   it in a box or envelope with the ‘finished’ symbol on it. 

  • Reinforce this by saying, e.g. “computer finished”. 

  • Splitting your day in to ‘chunks’ of time is advisable. It is overwhelming for anyone (including adults!) to process  your whole day from the moment you get up, to bedtime.  

  • Try splitting your timeline in to breakfast til lunch, lunch til dinner, dinner til bedtime.  

  • This means making the timeline 3 times during the day. 

  • Refer to the timeline consistently to ensure it has meaning for everyone who uses it. 


Sequence Strips 

Sequence strips are used to break one activity down in to smaller steps, e.g. hand washing. 

Sequence strips run from left to right.  This distinguishes them from a vertical timeline which shows different activities which have a transition between them. 

Refer to each step of a sequence by pointing to the strip and using verbal language to support. 

Sequence strips can help children and young people to build their independence skills as they can use the visual prompts to complete a task with less adult support needed.



Symbols and Photos 

A symbol is any kind of visual representation which carries meaning. We all use symbols every day, such as: 



If you cannot access a symbol of something you need, you can draw it or cut it out from a magazine! For  other things like people and specific places, a photograph may be better.  

If you cannot access a printer to make your symbols or photos, please contact the SLT department and we will do our best to help you. 

Alternatively, you may wish to explore some of the Apps which allow you to make first/then boards,  visual timelines and sequence strips on a smartphone or tablet, which can then be  shown to the child/young person. 



Usually we use Velcro to attach symbols to boards. You  need one  type of Velcro for the back of the symbols, and another for the boards. If you can’t get hold of Velcro, it’s time to get creative. Alternatives are Blu-Tack, pegs, double sided sticky tape, magnets….. whatever you can find that works. There are usually lots of ideas on Pinterest. 






Updated 07.05.20









 Covid_19 ALD.png 



 Guidance_in_the_event_of_school_closure_ due_to_ Coronavirus.pdf


 Visual_Timelines_&_First_-_Then _Boards.pdf











































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