How to Make a Social Story

A social story is a visual support that helps individuals understand new events and reinforces a desired skill, task, or behavior. They are useful for individuals that have Down syndrome, autism, or other intellectual/developmental disabilities. Social stories provide a blueprint as to what will occur and what is expected from a behavior standpoint. Knowing what will happen and what’s expected will also help to reduce anxiety and unwanted behaviors.

As you can see from the illustration, a social story should use succinct wording and may include visuals, depending on the age and ability of the child. Support teachers and speech therapists are great resources for creating social stories for your loved one. Google Images and Pinterest both offer many social stories to help you get started.

How to Make a Social Story

  1. Choose a specific event (starting school, a doctor’s visit, hygiene routine etc.).
  2. Break the story down into steps, including who, what, (and why depending on the child’s cognition level). Use the pronouns “I” or “we”.
  3. State the desired behaviors you want the person reading the story to do for each step.
  4. Include visuals - either online pictures or actual pictures of the setting.
  5. Show the desired outcome; this may include a reward or verbal praise like “good job”.
  6. Read the story together with the child repeatedly for several weeks before the event or new routine occurs.

If you feel that having everything on one page is too overwhelming for your loved one, try doing one item on each page and read through it like a storybook. Our DSAGC Young Adult Coordinator, Stephanie Bare (also an SLP), has created an example for you here: Visiting the DSAGC (click here)

Here are a few more examples: Dentist Visit | Movies at the Theater | Relationships 

Some individuals may respond better to video modeling. Making a video of the desired task or behavior can help a child learn a new routine, adjust to a new environment, or learn a skill. As with social stories, the script should be simple in wording and broken down step by step. Both social stories and video-based modeling can help teach new skills, learn about new venues, and carry out routines.

Here are a few more ideas for using social stories or video modeling to teach your loved one

  • New job skill
  • Fine motor tasks (cutting food, buttoning a shirt, pouring milk, handwriting)
  • Gross motor skills (swimming strokes, riding a bike, yoga, sports)
  • Grooming and hygiene routines (brushing teeth, showering, toileting, dressing)
  • Morning, afternoon and bedtime routines
  • Household chores
  • School Routines (new school, picture day, assemblies, new curriculum)
  • Visits to doctor, dentist, blood draws, haircuts
  • Community trips, vacations and special events
  • Teaching social skills (playing games with peers, turn taking)

When you know what is going to occur, you feel less anxious. Fear can lead to avoidance for all of us. Utilizing social stories can help guide a person to understand what and where it will happen and what is expected of their behavior. It’s a great visual tool for teaching new skills and routines. Social stories will help guide your loved one to smooth and successful experiences at home, school, and in the community.

Have questions about social stories?

Contact Stephanie Bare, DSAGC Young Adult Coordinator and SLP at

Article written by DSAGC's Amy Iten and includes ideas from Down Syndrome with a Slice of Autism.

Winter Programs 2023

Our programs focus on therapeutic, recreational, educational, and social opportunities for all ages and stages. We tailor our offerings to reflect the need of our local families as we strive to provide valuable support and quality programs for those in our community.

  Empowerment Series  

Gymnastics (ages 0 - 5)

Soccer Shots (ages 6 - 12 & 13 - 17)

Self-Defense (ages 18 & up)

Advocates in Action (ages 18 & up)

Lifelong Learning: Reading
(ages 18 - 34)

Tai Chi for Beginners (ages 30 & up)

Running Group (all ages)



  Enrichment Classes  

Tippi Toes Dance Party (ages 0 - 5)

Sunday Funday (ages 6 - 12)

321 Jazzercise (ages 6 - 17)

Knife Skills (ages 18 - 34)

Adaptive Cooking (ages 30 & up)



  Social Opportunities  

Take & Make Valentines (ages 0 - 5)

The Lucky Few Saint Patrick's Day Social (ages 0 - 5)

Tubing at Perfect North (ages 6+)

Social Club Party (ages 18 & up)

Arts & Apps (ages 18 & up)

Game Night (ages 30 & up)



  TELL Program  

T.E.L.L. stands for Teaching Engagement and Lifelong Language. This is a speech program led by SLP graduate students under the supervision of a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist.

February 1 - April 12

Learn more


  Tutoring in Your Town  

Tutoring in Your Town is a new program designed to offer individualized tutoring services during the school year to students with Down syndrome. Each session will be 1:1 with a certified education professional and tailored to the parent/caregiver desires. There are five tutoring locations to choose from throughout Greater Cincinnati.

February 1 - March 15

Learn more



  Find Your Way  

Find Your Way is a new collection of programs focusing on self-determination in adults with Down syndrome. These programs will include IGNITE, ACCLERATE, NAVIGATE, and CRUISE. These programs will take elements of our former Independent Living Retreat to enhance individual experiences. To participate in these programs, a parent/caregiver is required to meet with our Adult Coordinators to assess the best option for your loved one. 

Learn more


  Virtual Programs  

Virtual Music Therapy (ages 0 - 5)

Virtual Cooking (all ages)

Virtual Baking (all ages)

Virtual Bingo (all ages)

Virtual Creative Expression
(ages 18 & up)


  Media Production Club 

Our Media Production Club is a brand new initiative allowing adults with Down syndrome the opportunity to experience all aspects of media production including content creation, editing, branding, set design, and writing.

Learn more and Register

  Hearing Screenings 

 Undiagnosed hearing loss can be frequently mistaken for stubbornness, confusion, or disorientation in those with Down syndrome, but if properly identified, it can be greatly improved with hearing aids, ear cleanings, and environmental adaptations. It is extremely important to be receiving hearing screenings every year to help prevent health-related issues. If you attend our FREE hearing screening, you will be entered to win a $100 gift card!

Saturday, January 21


  Respite Care  

We offer Respite Care one or two times a quarter. We provide parents with short-term care services in a safe, supportive, and structured setting. Respite events are open to the child/teen/adult with Down syndrome as well as their siblings.

Friday, February 24
*Lottery Draw*


  Parent-Focused Workshops 

*childcare available*

Parent Workshop: Preschool Transition Panel Discussion

How to be a financial advocate for your loved one with Down syndrome

Safety Solutions: AngelSense Information Night

Healthy Aging with Dr. Wang & Clarissa Rentz


  Play with the Pros  

Play with the Pros is a non-directive approach to provide parents with therapeutic information from trained therapists. Therapists will be on-site to give tips and answer any questions you may have relating to OT/PT/Speech.

Second Saturday of the Month from 10 am - 11:30 am



Winter Dance

Friday, January 27
Newport Syndicate
Doors Open at 6:30 pm


Tickets to the Winter Dance include appetizers, buffet dinner, soft drinks, dessert, and two drink tickets for wine or beer. There is also a cash bar.

The Winter Dance is for ANYONE ages 15 & up - so grab your significant other or a group of friends to enjoy a fun evening!


World Down Syndrome Day 5K/10K/Kids Fun Run

presented by


Sunday, March 26
Winton Woods

We will be celebrating our friends, colleagues, and family members at our annual 5K/10K on Sunday, March 26th at Winton Woods.

  • 5K, 10K and Sleepy Sunday participants receive a long sleeve, dri-fit shirt!
  • The Kids Fun Run is a short distance sprint and each kid receives an official race shirt. 
  • What is Sleepy Sunday? You don’t have to run or walk with us in order to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day.  Simply, sign up as a Sleepy Sunday participant and still receive a race shirt....and you can sleep in on race day!
  • Online registration closes March 22. You must be registered by March 9 to be guaranteed a race shirt.

CPR Class

Saturday, February 18 at DSAGC
9 am - 1 pm

Join certified instructor, James Cornelison, at our CPR class for caregivers. Each participant will receive CPR certification. DSAGC is covering half the cost of the class for participants, so the certification will only be $20 per person.

Snacks and drinks provided.
Space is limited - register ASAP to reserve your spot!


Hearing Screenings

We are offering FREE Hearing Screenings for ALL AGES THIS SATURDAY, JANUARY 21 at our Empowerment Center!

Undiagnosed hearing loss can be frequently mistaken for stubbornness, confusion, or disorientation in those with Down syndrome, but if properly identified, it can be greatly improved with hearing aids, ear cleanings, and environmental adaptations. It is extremely important to be receiving hearing screenings every year to help prevent health-related issues. If you attend our FREE hearing screening, you will be entered to win a $100 gift card!


Buddy Up Fitness

Wednesdays from 6:00 – 7:00 pm at DSAGC
February 1, 8, 15 - March 1, 8, 22, 29 - April 5, 12, 19

Buddy Up Fitness is a full body workout class for Athletes ages 12 and over. Our 8-10 station full-body circuit training program is designed to combine activities that both increase heart rate and strengthen muscle mass with an emphasis on core conditioning. Each Athlete is paired with a Volunteer Buddy to help them with proper form and to track progress. Buddy Up Fitness is filled with challenges and fun to help each of our Athletes reach their fullest potential.


Information, Interest, and Input

We want to hear from YOU!

We consistently work to enhance the quality of our programs and services. To do so, we rely on information, interest, and input from our local community. 

Please take our brief questionnaire to help us better serve you. All information shared with us remains confidential.

Each person who fills out the questionnaire will be mailed a DSAGC magnet. 


We are hiring!

Our mission is to empower individuals, educate families, enhance communities and together, celebrate the extraordinary lives of people with Down syndrome. Specifically, we are looking to hire a Development Coordinator to round out our fundraising team.

If you have a heart for our mission and feel like you have the core competencies required, we hope you will take the time to apply!


Family Connections

Community Groups

Community Groups provide support, information, and be a resource while creating a warm, welcoming, empathetic environment. We have a wide variety of groups by area and interest.
Learn more

Social Clubs

Social Clubs meet monthly and serve as an opportunity for our adults with Down syndrome to take a leadership role in planning and implementing their own social activities.
Learn more

Teen Club

Our Teen Club is designed for teens to meet monthly for additional social and learning opportunities.
Learn more

DS/ASD Support Group

In an effort to support families with loved ones who have or who suspect to have a dual diagnosis of Down syndrome and autism (ASD), the DSAGC offers a support group for parents and caregivers. The goal of this group is to connect families to help support one another by talking through challenges and successes while guided by a qualified group facilitator. Participants can benefit from the facilitator’s knowledge of strategies to help in extra stressful situations. They can encourage each other as caregivers and can share and learn firsthand about resources to help in the many stages of this journey.

Learn more


Family Assistance

Transportation Assistance Fund

The DSAGC understands that some members in our community face challenges getting to and from important activities and appointments. To help, we established the Transportation Assistance Fund (TAF). The TAF provides financial assistance to parents or caregivers so they can obtain dependable and convenient transportation to DSAGC programs and events, or medical and therapy appointments for their loved one with Down syndrome.

transportation assistance fund application in english

transportation assistance fund application in spanish

Hospital Care Packages

We deliver care packages to individuals with Down syndrome who are admitted to the hospital. Our care packages include meal tickets, snacks, cards, activities, books, and more.

Learn more

Community Participation Fund

We have a limited amount of scholarships available for individuals with Down syndrome to participate in community activities (such as camps, soccer, swim lessons) and therapies.  There is also funding available for parents to attend educational meetings or conferences.  We pay half of the request (up to $250 per year). You must live within our 12 county area to be eligible.  

Learn more


Down Syndrome Awareness License Plates

Kentucky Residents

Good news! A Down Syndrome Awareness license plate has been approved in Kentucky. Production will start in 2023. If you are interested in purchasing a license plate, please fill out this interest form to get updates!

KY Ds Awareness License Plate Interest (

Ohio Residents

Ohio Down Syndrome Awareness license plates are available for purchase through any Ohio BMV! For every license plate sold, $25 goes back to support advocacy and awareness efforts of the Down Syndrome Associations in Ohio.

Indiana Residents

Down syndrome Awareness license plates can be purchased in person, at any Indiana BMV branch, at a BMV Connect kiosk, or online. To find the plate online, visit the BMV website. Select the plate labeled, “Down Syndrome Indiana”.


Special Education and Advocacy Conference


sponsored by

I’ve hand-selected a field of over 20 experts that are teachers, doctoral-level behaviorists, school psychologists, literacy coaches and specialists, and parents that have tried and true strategies to share with you. This line up of experts is a dream come true for me, because I’ve followed many of them on social media for years, and I’ve heard several of them speak at other conferences.   We’ve got a jam-packed schedule for you and hope that you find each and every workshop helpful, inspiring, and maybe even a little fun!!! We tried to spread out topics that may interest the same audience to avoid scheduling conflicts, but if you find yourself wanting to attend two workshops at the same time, consider purchasing a VIP or Live Pass to gain access to all of the sessions!

-Ashley Barlow

Topics include: 

  • What's After High School: Preparation for Further Education, Employment and Independent Living
  • Say What? Behavior as Communication
  • School versus Private Evaluations: Things to Consider When Making Your Decision
  • Appropriate Planning for Academic Success
  • We Don’t Talk About Trauma…No, No!
  • The Ripple Effect - Creating a Wave of Change in Reading Instruction
  • Advocacy Across the Lifespan at School, In the Community, and Beyond

Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati
4623 Wesley Avenue Suite A | Cincinnati,  45212
5137615400 |

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