Teaching Social Skills

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by tc.jamaica, Mar 3, 2012.

  1. tc.jamaica

    tc.jamaica New Member

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    Mar 3, 2012

    How can I teach social skills to a child with severe autism? I can't use social stories for he can't read yet. Can you give me some ideas?
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Mar 3, 2012

    Try social stories with pictures that he draws or that you make on the computer together. We use lots of social stories that we make together.

    On another note, it really depends on which social skills you are trying to teach. Lots of praise or breaking down into steps can help with some skills.
     
  4. tc.jamaica

    tc.jamaica New Member

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    Mar 3, 2012

    Other methods

    That was a nice idea. But besides using social stories, what other method can I use?
     
  5. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Mar 3, 2012

    If I was trying to teach a student to initiate conversations with another student, I might try to break this down into steps.

    I would start with determining who to talk with and what to say. Then teach these skills to the student through modeling and role play. You may even find some games to use.

    Then the student would need to go up to the student, get the students attention, look at the student (eye contact or as close as possible) and initiate the conversation.
     
  6. bethechange

    bethechange Comrade

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    Mar 3, 2012

    I teach kids k-5 with severe autism. It would help if I knew more about the student. Are they verbal? How old? What kinds of things do they like? What skills specifically are you interested in teaching?

    Since my students are so literal and concrete, I use lots of homemade visual cues with them to work on social skills and interaction. For example, during our group time at the SMARTboard, I have small pictures of all of them velcroed to the left side of the board. At the bottom, there is a visual cue with a pointing finger and a box. I select a student to go first, velcro his picture to the pointing finger, give it to the student and say, "Your turn, ______." Said students walks up to the SMARTboard, takes his turn, and then removes his picture and velcroes it to the right (all done) side of the board. He then selects another student's picture, velcroes it onto the pointing finger, walks it over, places it in that student's hand, and says (if able), "your turn, _______________."

    It seems so simple, but there are really so many skills you are working on here! When mopar was talking about breaking it down.............for some of these kids you REALLY have to break it down. They are soooooooooo literal. Just in this one interaction, we are teaching the kids to:

    -look at visual cue, discriminate face/printed name, and match (important since some of my kids are so oblivious to anyone around them)
    -awareness of others
    -using appropriate language, if possible
    -using name, in conjunction with language
    -wait when not your turn
    -initiate interaction with not only words, but APPROACH (this is huge for my kids............often someone has taught them the words, but they have no idea how to physically gain another's attention prior to saying them!)
    -pointing
    -reading a point of another person
    -shared enjoyment in a common activity
    -anticipating how and when an activity will proceed

    At the beginning of the year when I introduced this, we did it during song choice time because that is something that is highly motivating to all of my students. It took a lot of modeling and even hand-over-hand prompting with some students, but now we use this system in all of our group activities and all but my one very lowest student can do it completely independently. And the lowest one is makig progress towards this.

    Furthermore, we are generalizing it to other locations. Cooking, gym activities, recess, lunch.......anywhere where it is natural and logical to take turns at something, we work on first using the visual cue, then fading to a point, then a look, then complete independence. Now it is not uncommon to hear students throughout the day pointing at each other and saying, "your turn, ____________." It is so awesome.

    I would say visual cues and systems are the most effective and probably easiest way I have found to work on social skills with kids with severe autism. Be creative, think specifically about the thing you want to teach, and go for it. Stick with it. Don't give up. If what you are trying doesn't work the first, second, third, and even twentieth time, don't give up! Remember, visual cues do not magically make these kids able to understand. You have to teach them what the cue means and how to use it. It takes time and patience, but it is so worth it.

    Other things to think about: video modeling and video self-modeling. Our gym teacher, who also teaches my kids adapted phy ed video models regular gym activities. I show my kids the videos in the morning before we go to gym and then we practice them in adapted gym. I have a few students who are actually able to go to regular gym and participate meaningfully with skills they have learned this way. They are very motivated by the videos.

    You could also do video self-modeling, where you videotape the student doing the targeted skill, even if it needs to be prompted. Then you edit out the prompts, so the video appears that the student is doing the skill all by himself. It is a time investment at first while you learn how to do it, but it is really easy with a flip camera or moviemaker. Then the kids "see" themselves being successful, which very often translates to greater success and independence.

    Hope this was helpful. Good luck!
     
  7. Cenicienta

    Cenicienta Rookie

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    Mar 3, 2012

    I agree with trying video modeling. I think that this would work beautifully for your student. Does this student have an i-pad or does the school have an i-pad that you can use? There are some awesome (and free - hooray!) social story applications for the i-pad that your student can watch.
     

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