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How Engaging Visuals in Social Stories Change the Conversation

Creating Personalized Social Stories with AI

Social stories have been an invaluable tool in supporting individuals, especially autistic children, to understand social norms, communicate effectively, and navigate various situations. These short, simple stories are accompanied by visuals, helping children grasp complex social cues and scenarios. The power of personalized social narratives has been recognized for decades, and now, with the help of artificial intelligence (AI), creating engaging and tailored stories has become even more accessible and effective.

The Evolution of Social Stories

Developed by Carol Gray in 1991, social stories have become an essential tool in the realm of autism supports. These stories aim to explain what to expect, decrease anxiety, teach rules, demonstrate social cues, and provide guidance in responding to social situations. They use straightforward language and vivid pictures to make information comprehensible and relatable for autistic children. Over the years, educators and caregivers have witnessed the positive impact of personalized stories in promoting self-awareness, self-calming, and self-management among children.

Introducing Ella: Personalized Social Stories with AI

In recent years, technology has taken the concept of personalized social stories to the next level. Ella, is an app that utilizes AI to generate custom social stories designed to teach kids routines, new skills, and prepare them for new adventures. Ella streamlines the process by tailoring stories based on just a few inputs, making the creation of personalized social stories faster and more efficient.

In the past, assembling personalized social stories involved manually taking photos or searching for images and the use of design software to create visuals. This process could be time-consuming and often required a significant amount of effort from educators and caregivers. Ella dramatically simplifies this process, automatically generating stories and visuals that are uniquely suited to a child's interests, likeness, and needs.

An image of a story on a tablet featuring an African American boy, wearing a green shirt, standing in the park.
6 year old Alan wants to play with the other kids at the park but he doesn't know what to do. This story was generated using the title "Asking another child at the park to play" and a profile for Alan that describes him as "A 6 year old African American boy, wearing a green button down shirt." See the full story.

The Power of Personalization

Research in the field of autism supports has shown that personalization can significantly enhance the effectiveness of social narratives. A study conducted by Kelly A.M. Edwards and colleagues examined the impact of personalized social narratives on children with ASD. They found that personalization, such as using images of the child and incorporating role play, led to greater improvements in target behaviors compared to generic narratives.

Ella's AI-driven approach aligns with these findings by providing a platform where educators and caregivers can input specific information about a child's preferences, interests, and challenges. The AI then generates visuals and storylines that resonate with the child on a personal level, making the stories more engaging and relatable. The output stories can then be further fine-tuned to fill in any gaps or adjust the visuals. The result is personalized social stories in minutes without installing any apps or manipulating files.

Changing the Conversation with Engaging Visuals

The use of AI to generate social stories can change the conversation surrounding autism supports. By combining tailored images with narratives, educators and caregivers can bridge the communication gap and facilitate a deeper understanding of social situations and expectations.

Ella's AI capabilities enable the creation of visually appealing stories that capture a child's attention and imagination. The personalized nature of these stories means that they are more likely to resonate with the child, making learning and understanding more effective and enjoyable.


Personalized social stories have been instrumental in helping autistic children understand social cues, communicate effectively, and navigate everyday situations. The advent of AI tools like Ella has revolutionized the creation of these stories, making them more accessible and efficient for parents, teachers, and therapists. By harnessing the power of AI-generated visuals, we can change the conversation around autism supports, ensuring that children receive the personalized support they need to thrive in social settings. As technology continues to advance, the possibilities for enhancing the impact of social narratives are endless, offering valuable tools for autistic individuals and their support networks.

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