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How to Write Musical Social Stories

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This music therapy video illustrates the following:

  • By adding music to social stories, you can make them more engaging for children with special needs
  • You can also chant a non-musical social story to give it a strong rhythmic feel that will make the story more engaging
  • May is Williams syndrome awareness month and to learn more, go to
  • You can build social stories with pictures, video, audio and text by using the free app called Story Creator by Alligator Apps

To read a transcription of this video post, please click here.

Ryan Judd is a board certified music therapist. He has a master's degree in Music Therapy and a bachelor's degree in Psychology, with an emphasis on Child Development. He has been working as a music therapist with children with special needs for more than 16 years. In addition to working one on one with clients, Ryan also leads groups focused on the development of social skills.  His services are available in Southern New Hampshire, Northern Massachussets and Southern Maine.  He lives in the Seacoast region with his wife who is a 1st grade teacher.


  • Mary Rose Baldacchino Friday, 03 May 2013

    Thank you Ryan. This is Fantastic, because not all children are able to sit through a reading of a therapeutic story, but music makes all that much more interesting for the child with a short attention span.

  • Ryan Friday, 03 May 2013

    Hello Mary Rose, thank you so much for your comment! You make a great point. I appreciate it.


  • Kim Gilbert, MT-BC Friday, 03 May 2013

    This is great. I was just recently looking for an app to write stories with, and was unsuccessful. Thanks for sharing!

  • Ryan Friday, 03 May 2013

    Hi Kim, I am so glad that you found this helpful! I had to go through a couple of apps before I found this one. I love how you can have the words highlighted as you sing them! You can also share social stories with a client's iPad as long as they have the app too.

  • Michelle Hintz-Reitman Saturday, 04 May 2013

    I just wrote about Musical Social Stories in two upcoming chapters - describing its applications for ADHD and autism.

  • Karen Goodman Monday, 06 May 2013

    Looking forward to reading them,
    Karen Goodman, Professor, Music Therapy, Montclair State University.

  • Ryan Monday, 06 May 2013


  • Anna Bovoli Saturday, 04 May 2013

    such a wonderful idea!!i am going to use it with teenagers with autism as well as with in an elementary school pupils with learning disabilities.Thank you.

  • Ryan Monday, 06 May 2013

    Hi Anna, you are very welcome! I am so happy to be able to share these ideas with my colleagues. Thank you for the comment!

  • Julie Krøier Saturday, 04 May 2013

    Its so amazing! Thank you for sharing.
    I saw another of your videos where you used a YES/ NO add. Could you tell me where you have got that from? It could be great for the children with severe ASD that I work with.

    Thank you very much. I am so grateful to have found you blog,

  • Ryan Monday, 06 May 2013

    Hi Julie, thank you for the comment and question! I am so glad that you found me too. :) The Yes/No app is called AnswersHD. It is $3.99 and you can customize the buttons for choice making, requesting, etc. Most of the children that I work with have this on their iPads. It has become very popular! Thanks again for the comment and question.

  • Sharon Saturday, 04 May 2013

    I work with middle school students with high functioning autism. Musical social stories looks so promising!

  • Ryan Monday, 06 May 2013

    Hi Sharon, thank you for the comment. One of the things I love about these musical social stories is that it is easy to make them age appropriate. This app even lets you shoot video and directly insert it into the page of the social story you are working on. How cool is that?

  • Marilynn Friday, 05 July 2013

    Hi Ryan,

    I love your work and am a huge fan of social stories. I am the Director of a program for young adults with special needs ( and have found it very difficult to find material geared for ages 18+. Many of our guys (& girls!) still benefit from the use of social stories and of course love music, but finding age appropriate material is rare. This is a niche for someone who wants to tackle it! In the meantime, we continue to customize material whenever we can.

  • Ryan Monday, 08 July 2013

    Hi Marilynn, thank you so much for your comment! I appreciate hearing your insight into the need for more age appropriate material for ages 18 and up. I have also seen a general lack of services and therapy groups for this age range. I hope to fill some of that void in the near future. Thanks again!

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