Serving families of children with special needs
through exceptional photography

Photo: Laura Popiel

Social Story Picture Flip Book











The social story approach has become one of the most popular ways to teach children who are on the autism spectrum as well as those with low cognitive ability. Children in special education classes are taught with a tool called a "social story." Social stories contain small simple-to-understand pictures that, when put together, form a sequence that makes a point or teaches a short lesson.


Shown here are some examples of pictures included in the flip book. Many children with disabilities learn concepts better from "visuals" rather from words spoken to them.

Special Kids Photography of America has developed a social story flip book with easy-to-turn pages that prepares a child--especially one with autism--for a one-on-one photo session with a photographer. The social story is provided to the parent or teacher a day or two prior to the photo shoot. 

The same type of success can be achieved in a photographic session when a parent or sibling applies body pressure from behind and at the same time, reaches around to the front with their arms in a tight hold.


Almost guaranteed Success with these three items: Flip book + Baffle + 70-200mm f/2.8 lens



To provide an example, an actual photo shoot was conducted after providing a mother of two autistic sons with the  The result was excellent. The two brothers shown here both have autism. One is nonverbal and both have minimal ability to stay in one spot for longer than a few seconds. That's why the mother lamented beforehand that she had never been able to get a photo of them. Here's how the photographer did it: 

  • The mother was provided with the Social Story Picture Flip Book to prepare the boys for the photo session the next day.
  • The photographer learned from the mother that the boys like the sound of water. A cascading/kiddie-wading waterfall area in a local park was selected for the session.
  • The photographer attached her 70-200mm f/2.8 telephoto lens
  • The photographer attached the SKPA Camera Baffle around the lens
  • BIG REASON FOR SUCCESS: Autism is a sensory condition the affects sight, hearing, spell and taste. More importantly, children relax when pressure is applied. The boys were encouraged to sit back to back and press on each other. It WORKED!


The photographer knew the mother had used the social story to teach the boys because one of them greeted her with the same open-handed wave shown here.




Check out one of the outtakes early in the session prior to affixing the camera baffle to show that this session was not a "piece of cake!". The photographer was able to remain out of immediate range by using a 70-200mm f/2.8 telephoto lens. Having both parents there to guide the boys was also extremely helpful. The greatest success during the session was obtained when the boys sat back to back and leaned against each other. Why? Autism is a sensory disorder. Pressure helped the boys relax and enjoy the feeling of pressing against each other. 



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