Social Stories, Social Scripts and the Power Card Strategy (page 2)

By — Autism Society
Updated on Apr 30, 2014

The Power Card Strategy

The Power Card Strategy is a visual aid that incorporates the child’s special interest to teach appropriate social interactions, including routines, behavioral expectations and the hidden curriculum. It consists of two parts—a short scenario describing how the hero solves the problem and a small card with a picture of the hero to recap the strategy. Because children with AS often have well-defined special interests, the hero associated with their interest serves as a motivator. The strategy capitalizes on the relationship between child and hero. Following the initial reading of the scenario, the child is given the Power Card to keep with them. This card serves as a way to generalize the skill to new settings (Gagnon, 2001).

Following is an example of the use of the Power Card Strategy written for a fourth-grade girl with AS who was struggling to pay attention in class. The Power Card accompanying this scenario was a small picture of Hannah Montana with the three steps to success on the reverse side of the picture.

Hannah Montana loves being in concert and also loves being on the set of her TV show. She still, however, has to go to school. Sometimes it is hard for her to pay attention to her teachers when she is in class. As Miley Cyrus she is sometimes tempted to daydream about her other life as Hannah Montana. She has learned, however, that listening to her teachers and doing her school work is as important as singing, dancing and acting. She has learned that she needs to pay attention in class and do her work, so that she has time to do what she loves to do.

Just like Hannah Montana, it is important to pay attention in class. This would make Hannah Montana proud. Hannah would like all girls who love her to remember these three things.

  1. Listen to your teacher when she is talking. Be ready to answer any questions that she might ask.
  2. Do your school assignments and stay on task until the assignment is completed.
  3. Always ask for help when needed.

Remember to pay attention in class and do your school work and you will have lots of time to watch and listen to Hannah Montana when you are finished.


Social Scripts, Social StoriesTM and the Power Card strategy are easy-to-use visual supports that help children with AS understand their social world. Effective in home, school and community, these supports are substantiated by research.


Gagnon, E. (2001). The Power Card Strategy: Using Special Interests to Motivate Children and Youth with Asperger Syndrome. Shawnee Mission, KS: Autism Asperger Publishing Company.

Gray, C.A. (2000). The New Social Story Book™. Arlington, TX: Future Horizons.

Gray, C.A. (1995). Writing Social Stories with Carol Gray. Arlington, TX: Future Horizons.

Kamps, D., Royer, J., Dugan, E., Kravits, T., Gonzalez-Lopez, A., Garcia, G., Carnazzo, K., Morrison, L., & Kane, L.G. (2002). Peer training to facilitate social interaction for elementary students with autism and their peers. Exceptional Children, 68(2): 173-187.

Myles, B.S., Trautman, M.L., & Schelvan, R.L. (2004). The Hidden Curriculum: Practical Solutions for Understanding Unstated Rules in Social Situations. Shawnee Mission, KS: Autism Asperger Publishing Company.

Swaggart, B., Gagnon, E., Bock, S.J., & Earles, T.L. (1995). Using Social Stories to teach social and behavioral skills to children with autism. Focus on Autistic Behavior, 10(1): 1-16.

View Full Article
Add your own comment
DIY Worksheets
Make puzzles and printables that are educational, personal, and fun!
Matching Lists
Quickly create fun match-up worksheets using your own words.
Word Searches
Use your own word lists to create and print custom word searches.
Crossword Puzzles
Make custom crossword puzzles using your own words and clues.
See all Worksheet Generators