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Implementing Social Skills Activities and Groups for Middle and High School Students. Rebecca Butt, MS, CCC-SLP. Table of Contents. Background Information Why has the need for social skills intervention increased so drastically?

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Implementing Social Skills Activities and Groups for Middle and High School Students


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    1. Implementing Social Skills Activities and Groups for Middle and High School Students Rebecca Butt, MS, CCC-SLP

    2. Table of Contents • Background Information • Why has the need for social skills intervention increased so drastically? • Identify appropriate materials for use in social skills groups for middle and high school • Identify key social skills often addressed in middle and high school • Identify appropriate social skills activities for middle and high school groups • Identify ways to transfer social skills activities in relation to the functional school environment • Stepping outside of the box

    3. Background Information • Received BS and MS in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of New Hampshire, Durham. • Have been employed by Boothby Therapy Services for over six years • Also employed at HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital on a per diem basis • Have been working with the middle and high school population for six years • In that time, the need for social skills intervention has increased drastically

    4. Why Has the Need for Social Skills Increased so Drastically? • On March 29, 2012, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 1 in 88 children are identified as having Autism by the age of 8 • The figure represents a 23% increase from the previous report in which 1 in 110 children were identified as having Autism • Between 2002 to 2008 there was a 78% increase in children being identified as having Autism • Most were not diagnosed until after the age of 4 although there has been an increase in identification by the age of 3

    5. Social Implications of Those Identified with Autism • May have difficulty making eye contact with others • May display insufficient use of nonverbal language • body language • facial expressions • tone of voice • May have difficulty developing relationships with peers and adults • May have difficulty with the appropriate initiation of topics and overall topic maintenance • May have difficulty with the inherent rules that govern conversation • May engage less in give-and-take social interaction

    6. Not Limited to Those Identified with Autism • Social skills intervention may also be beneficial for students identified with: • Nonverbal Learning Disability • Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder • Pervasive Developmental Delay-Not Otherwise Specified • Downs Syndrome • Intellectual Disabilities • Speech and Language Impairments • Etc.

    7. Social Skills Often Addressed in Middle and High School • Using appropriate behaviors ~ expected vs. unexpected • Perspective taking • Engaging in meaningful and appropriate conversation • Functional problem solving ~ big problem vs. little problem

    8. Appropriate Material Suggestions for Social Skills Group Activities • Michelle Garcia Winner, MS, CCC-SLP ~ Social Thinking Curriculum • Socially Fate or Social Fortune: A Social Thinking Graphic Novel Map for Social Quest Seekers by Pamela Crooke and Michelle Garcia Winner • Great for Middle School aged students with a focus on social behavior mapping in conjunction with expected and unexpected behaviors • Can devise lesson plans around content in book • Socially Curious and Curiously Social: A Social Thinking Guidebook for Bright Teens and Young Adults by Pamela Crooke and Michelle Garcia Winner • Great for high school aged students with a focus on practical strategies for navigating the social world at school and in the community • Can devise lesson plans around content in book

    9. Continued • Think Social! A Social Thinking Curriculum for School-Age Students by Michelle Garcia Winner • Great for all ages • Covers the core basics of the Social Thinking Curriculum • User friendly and avoids redundancy • Provides handouts for teachers, parents to share recent curriculum covered including terms introduced and used • Provides lesson plans with material suggestions from which to build off of

    10. Continued • Videos • Movies, TV shows or clips without sound present • Mr. Bean, Shrek, age appropriate movies • Soap Operas • Sitcoms • Pictures • Purchased or self-made/laminated • Depicting various functional/real life situations and themes • Falling asleep in class, bad grades, eating junk food, exercising, sports teams in victory/defeat, bullying, gossiping, etc.

    11. Continued • Games • All social skills are targeted during game play! • Made and ready to order specifically targeting social skills • Apples to Apples • Social Skills Speech Jeopardy-the ability to target very specific skills (expected vs. unexpected behaviors, problem solving , perspective taking, inferential language, etc.) • Life • Clue • Any other age appropriate group game

    12. Continued • Books • Graphic novels or curricular based text • Social Fate or Social Fortune • Socially Curious and Curiously Social • Curricular based text • Offers a less visual approach to indirectly targeting social skills with a focus on contextual clues • Social Stories • Can still be relevant for those in middle and high school • Created as needed to target specific social skills in specific settings/situations a student may be struggling with

    13. Continued • Group Activities-Cooperative Learning • Any activity that requires a group effort, problem solving, trust and collaborative thinking • Cooking/following a recipe • The Blindfolded Walk-an obstacle course to be navigated by a team of two, one blindfolded, the other instructing • Create a drawing or story in which each student adds an element based on topic and theme established • Group Building Projects (blocks, cards, etc.) • Collaborative Gardening

    14. Continued • Social/Behavioral Maps • They are easy to make, can be tailored to meet any given social skills need, are quick to implement and can travel • Allows students to process specific incidences within the social language skills context • “Re-wires” the students traditional response/thinking to various stimuli/situations through frequent implementation and repetition of language/sequence of processing • Templates available in: Think Social! A Social Thinking Curriculum for School-Age Students by Michelle Garcia Winner

    15. Continued • Videoing • How better to perceive another individuals or ones own actions than to watch them in action! • When playing a game or completing a group activity, video the session. • Upon completion, watch the video and look for/identify various social skills that were used or for that matter, not used • IPad • Motivational tool for those that are technologically driven • Great for watching videos/videoing • A host of apps available that address social skills

    16. Continued • Internet • For videos/clips • For researching • A host of interactive websites for indirectly targeting social skills • Short comic book/story makers

    17. Social Thinking Curriculum • Created By Michelle Garcia Winner, MS-CCC, SLP • Provides a framework for providing intervention to those in need of social skills therapy • Provides lesson plans and material suggestions for those in need of social skills therapy • Provides a non-standardized alternative to assessing a students social skills • Provides functional language that may be used across settings for those in need of social skills therapy • An invaluable resource from which to base social skills therapy

    18. Expected vs. Unexpected Behaviors in Middle and High School • Expected behavior ~ that which is anticipated of an individual in a given environment • Unexpected behavior ~ that which is not anticipated of an individual in a given environment • Relevancy in the upper grades vs. elementary school? • ABSOLUTLEY! • That which is expected of an individual changes over time and is largely dependent on age appropriate expectations and the environment

    19. Targeting Expected and Unexpected Behaviors • Expected and Unexpected Behaviors for: • School Dances • Hallways • The Workplace • Job Interviews • Waiting for the bus • Attending an event (wedding/funeral/graduation) • For whatever functional situation may arise • Etc. The majority of students have been exposed to this language The majority of students are able to verbally express expected and unexpected behaviors within the school environment Make it functional and age-appropriate.

    20. Activities for the Use of Expected vs. Unexpected Behaviors • Reinforce the positive and decrease negative behaviors • Create a visual chart ~ (white board or otherwise) and fill it in with both unexpected behaviors for age appropriate events • During a group activity ~ (game/role playing, etc.) of any variety pass out tickets (choose two different colors) for those using expected or expected behaviors. • Watch videos ~ have the students (provide a chart) identify expected or unexpected behaviors observed • Role play ~ provided or self-generated expected and unexpected behaviors in small groups • Video a group activity ~ have students identify, as a group expected and unexpected behaviors observed. • Read books or look at pictures ~ identify expected and unexpected behaviors observed • PROCESS THE BEHAVIORS: how did it make the individual and others feel

    21. Reinforcing Expected BehaviorsSocial/Behavioral Mapping What expected behavior did I use? How did it make those around you feel? How did it make you feel? I did not stomp away or throw things when I lost the game They were not scared of me and they were happy I felt proud of myself

    22. Decreasing Unexpected Behaviors Social/Behavioral Mapping What unexpected behavior did I use? How did it make those around me feel? How did it make me feel? I threw the dice across the room when I lost the game They were scared and did not want to play with me anymore I felt sad after

    23. Reinforcing Expected Behaviors/Decreasing Unexpected • Social/behavioral mapping: to process when both expected and unexpected behaviors have been used in a functional situation after the incident has occurred and if needed, after the student has deescalated • Work with students in a classroom setting as able • Share the language and strategies (cueing system) and social/behavioral mapping) with all those working with student: • Case Managers • Teachers • Paraprofessionals • Classroom Assistants • Parents • Guidance Counselors

    24. Perspective Taking in Middle and High School • The ability to relate to others • The ability to perceive someone else’s thoughts, motivations and feelings • The ability to empathize with an individual and see things from their perspective • The ability to read social cues (nonverbal language) • The ability to understand inferential language (sarcasm, humor, nonliteral) • Is developed by developing an understanding nonverbal language

    25. Teaching Perspective Taking Skills • The majority of students have been exposed to perspective taking skills in some capacity • High focus on nonverbal language which correlates with the ability to identify a persons intent or motivation • Eye gaze • Facial expressions • Body language • Tone of voice

    26. Activities for Developing Basic Perspective Taking Skills • Determining what someone is thinking based on where they are looking, facial expression, body language and tone of voice • Provide topic (thirsty, in a hurry)on slips of paper ~ with target on it so other students can guess what the student is thinking based on eye gaze, facial expression, body language, tone of voice • Watch videos ~ without sound present to practice determining what someone is thinking based on eye gaze, facial expression, body language, tone of voice • Emotion cards ~ Provide student with card(angry, jealous, happy, melancholy etc.) and have them utilize eye gaze, facial expression, body language and tone of voice to emulate emotion for the group to guess

    27. Continued • Video a group activity ~ have students watch after while identifying aspects of basic perspective taking skills used • Role playing ~ in small groups when provided with a specific, functional situation (buying a shirt, asking for directions, etc.) • Utilize pictures ~ depicting a social scene and take turns identifying what each person is thinking in the situation given eye gaze, facial expression and tone of voice

    28. Activities for Higher Level Perspective Taking Skills • The ability to be in a group and take the perspective of those participating in less structured, group oriented activities • Utilize pictures ~ depicting functional situations • Have the group participate in a joint drawing activity ~ topic chosen in advance, in which each person adds an aspect until complete • Have the group participate in a joint writing activity ~ topic chosen in advance, in which each student adds an aspect until complete • Group construction projects ~ with blocks, cards, etc. • Play a game ~ any appropriate game • Create a play as a group and then reenact ~ provide functional topic • Cooking • Video the activity ~ have the students identify the use or misuse of perceptive taking skills

    29. Continued • Mock job interviews ~ provide potential places of employment appropriate to the age • Creating a collaborative poster ~ based on a functional age-appropriate issue (cyber bullying, moral issues, political) • The blindfolded walk ~ an obstacle course to be navigated by a team of two, one blindfolded, the other instructing • Play Charades ~ with topics to be pantomimed appropriate to the goal • Build a consensus: ~ social skills activities that teach kids to negotiate ~ Plan an event (birthday, dance, etc.) provide cards for each student with choices for food, cake, activity, color themes (be goofy as well as realistic) • Practice utilizing contextual clues ~ in text to make inferential guesses

    30. Engaging in Meaningful and Appropriate Conversation • The ability to talk informally about opinions, ideas and feelings between persons • Requires the ability to initiate a topic • Requires the ability to maintain the topic (make a comment, add a thought, • Requires the ability to appropriately exit the conversation

    31. Teaching the Ability to Engage in Meaningful and Appropriate Conversations • Fundamental skill development for successful conversational exchanges usually introduced prior to the upper grades • Listening skills, eye contact, whole body listening • Giving and receiving compliments and criticism • Developed understanding of how and when to interrupt • Developed understanding of how to change of subject • Usage of empathetic comments • Conversation openers and closers • Asking questions/requesting clarification when there is a lack of understanding • Reciprocity/turn taking

    32. Activities for Engaging in Meaningful and Appropriate Conversation • Provide question cards ~ as a get to know activity (favorite food/movie, siblings, pets, etc. )with one follow up question required from each individual • Role Playing ~ the initiating, maintaining and terminating of a conversation in a group setting when provided with conversations starters or self-generated(movies, video games, etc.) • Create a story ~ containing two characters (provided or created) with dialogue and then have them reenact the play • Put on a play ~ when provided with a socially relevant/functional topic/script or for higher level, self-generated

    33. Continued • Play “Telephone” ~ stress the importance of listening • Role playing ~ practice approaching and joining a group utilizing current conversation/group dynamic to appropriately initiate • Play games ~ they require use of all aspects of social skills, including conversation • Card games • Board games • Cooperative Games • Barrier Games

    34. Functional Problem Solving ~ Big Problem vs. Little Problem • The ability to identify a problem that may occur at school, home or in the community and further • The ability to identify if a problem is big (requires many people to solve with major implications) or little (requires one or few people to solve, with minimal implications) • The ability to identify multiple solutions to a problem that may occur at school, home or in the community • The ability to identify if their reaction to the problem was expected or unexpected • The ability to identify implications for those involved

    35. Targeting Functional Problem Solving ~ Big Problem vs. Little Problem • Functional Problem Solving for Situations That May Occur: • In the classroom • During after school activities • In the workplace • At a job interview • When shopping • When attending an event (wedding/funeral/graduation) • For whatever functional situation that may arise • At home The majority of students have been exposed to this language The majority of students are able to verbally express what a big or little problem is in a small group setting Make it functional and age-appropriate.

    36. Activities for Targeting Functional Problem Solving ~ Big Problem vs. Little Problem • Provide pictures ~ that depict a problem that may occur at school, home or in the community: identify problem, type of problem and solutions • Watch videos ~ that depict both minor and major problems and process accordingly • Playing games ~ of any kind • Video a group activity ~ so as to identify problems, type of problem and solution that occurred/should have occurred and process accordingly • Group activities ~ collaborative • Process problems ~ as they occur in a functional setting utilizing social/behavior mapping to process accordingly

    37. Big Problem vs. Little ProblemSocial/Behavioral Mapping What is the problem that occurred? Is it a big problem or a little problem? How did you respond? I couldn’t change the wallpaper on the computer before my test A little problem Like it was a big problem

    38. Big Problem vs. Little ProblemSocial/Behavioral Mapping Was your behavior expected or unexpected? How did your behavior make the teacher feel How could you have solved the problem? Unexpected She was angry at me Asked the teacher if I could change it after the test

    39. Reinforcing Functional Problem Solving ~ Big Problem vs. Little Problem • Social/behavioral mapping ~ to process when behaviors have escalated in a functional situation after the incident has occurred and if needed, after the student has deescalated • Work with students in a classroom setting as able • Share the language and strategies ~ cueing system and/or social/behavioral mapping with all those working with student • Teachers • Paraprofessionals • Classroom Assistants • Parents • Guidance Counselors

    40. Stepping Outside the Box • No two students are alike • There is no quick fix and it takes a team • Utilize teachers, case managers, classroom aides, guidance counselors, families, etc. to identify individual needs for students • Utilize teachers, case managers, classroom aides, guidance counselors, families, etc. to assist with transfer of skills • Tailor social skills activities and intervention to meet the needs that are presenting challenges in functional situations. • Having all the answers does not mean a student has mastered social skills • Some kiddos are just quirky!

    41. Resources • www.socialthinking.com • http://www.counselorsroom.com/SC_Group.ph • www.toondoo.com • www.commix.com • http://www/storyjumper.com/book/create • http://storybird.com

    42. References • http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2012/t0329_Autism_Telebriefing.htm • http://www.pbs.org/parents/inclusivecommunities/autism2.html • http://phikappaphi.byu.edu/Awards/2008/papers/McDaniel.Brandon.pdf • http://www.raisesmartkid.com/3-to-6-years-old/4-articles/34-the-good-and-bad-effects-of-video-games • http://www.parentingscience.com/social-skills-activities.html • http://suite101.com/article/conversation-skills-for-students-with-autism-a120930