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The Socially Skilled Kids Blog

HOW TO TEACH DIVERSITY TO YOUR SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS

 

Learning to tolerate and celebrate diversity cab be quite challenging for many of our kiddos with special needs.  Especially those on the autism spectrum. 
 
Some of these children have stuck thinking around ethnicity, race, religion, etc. 
 
And they can be very verbal about their preferences…often, at the most inopportune times.
 
 

For these kiddos, we need to teach diversity, yes…but we can’t forget some of the important, underlying social skills that can make it more challenging:

 
  • Flexible Thinking
  • Perspective Taking 
  • Empathy
  • Tolerance
 
Without theses skills, diversity lessons will not stick. 
 
They won’t make sense.
 
It’s important to think about ways we can help our special learners be more tolerant and accepting of others.  
 
And since our kiddos often have a harder time with this, due to overlapping challenges such as Flexible Thinking...
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HOW TO TEACH STUDENTS TO MAKE COMMENTS DURING CONVERSATIONS

 

Many students with special needs struggle to engage in conversations.  Why?  Well, there could be many reasons related to each child’s specific set of challenges and abilities.  But the biggest reason, in my mind, is the number of skills needed, to successfully engage in a conversation.

There are literally dozens of skills needed.  On top of that, these skills change based on the type of conversation, the number of people involved, etc.

Oy! 

 

Is it any wonder that engaging in conversations is challenging for our kiddos!

In my blog post, Teaching Conversational Skills To Special Education Students, you can learn about how and why to teach conversational skills to your special students.  You can also sign up to join us in The Teacher’s Lounge and grab a great Freebie: Conversation Poster and Tips & Tricks to engaging in a conversation.

Something I spend a lot of time on with my students is, Responding To Others in a...

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THE BEST WAYS TO DECREASE CHALLENGING BEHAVIORS

 
Challenging Behaviors are always a hot topic and could probably be discussed 
All. Year. Long.
 
But when you think about it, we really do talk about challenging behaviors all year long, because we talk about social skills.  And I believe, that most challenging behaviors are a direct result of a lack of social skills. 
 
 
 
Of course, there are some mental health disorders that can cause very significant behavior challenges, for example, Oppositional Defiance Disorder {ODD} and Conduct Disorder {CD), but for the purposes of this discussion, we will be talking about challenging behaviors that are most likely due to a lack of, or poorly developed, social skills.
 
This social skills deficit may be due to factors such as; Autism, ADHD, Anxiety, Developmental Delay, Speech and Language Delay, Learning Disabilities or Environmental Factors.
 
With the support of the student’s Team, we can have a positive...
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HOW TO RESPOND TO THE STUDENT WHO ALWAYS ARGUES

Do you have a student who is always arguing and/or analyzing everything you {and their peers} say or do?  Do they debate even the smallest of requests that you make?  Do they become argumentative with peers, even those who are trying to be friendly to them, cause them to have few or challenging friendships? 

Students who constantly argue can be very frustrating!

Figuring Out The “Why”

 

The first thing I always do, is try to pinpoint the reason for the behavior.

Why is the student engaging in  this behavior?  What is he/she trying to say?  Beyond the words, what message is he sending?

Students who engage in this type of behavior are often seeking control. They want to control the situation, the conversation, the game, etc.  This is usually due to challenges with; Rigid Thinking, Poor Understanding of Empathy, Poor Understanding of Point of View, Perspective Taking, and Fact vs. Opinion. 

Some students also have low self...

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TOP 10 WAYS TO RESPOND TO DEFIANT BEHAVIOR IN THE CLASSROOM

 

Defiant behavior in the classroom is a reality for all teachers.  Classroom teachers, special subject teachers and assistant teachers, all have to respond to a variety of defiant behavior(s), sometimes, on a daily basis.  Defiant behavior(s) also affects the other students who share space with those who are struggling.

 

Some, experience severe behaviors.  This post will address mild-moderately defiant behaviors.  These are behaviors that are unsettling and/or disruptive to your teaching, including; non-compliance, arguing and being rude and disrespectful.

*The strategies discussed here and the Freebies passed along, are not intended for significantly defiant behaviors that may be dangerous to you or the student.  Those behaviors and related strategies are outside of the scope of this blog post.  For help with excessively aggressive or dangerous behavior, seek the help of a qualified mental health professional and or behavior...

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HOW AND WHY TO TEACH STUDENTS TEAMWORK AND COOPERATION

 
This time of year I tend to put a lot of focus on the explicit teaching of two very important social skills; Teamwork and Cooperation
 
Of course, teamwork and cooperation are essential skills all-year-long, and are used in nearly every activity in school and in life.
 
For me, the importance of teamwork and cooperation really seems to stand out, as I watch my students to playing sports and games at recess, and engaging in cooperative activities on the playground in in their classrooms. 
 
 
Teamwork and Cooperation are defined very similarly, and my students always tell me they are the same thing.
 
But there are some subtle and important differences that I like to keep in mind.
 

Let’s start with Teamwork.

 

Teamwork is defined as:
 
A collaborative effort to achieve a common goal or complete a task.
 
 
Why is teamwork so important? 
 
Because we need to use teamwork in pretty much all...
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CREATIVE WAYS TO TEACH 5 BASIC SOCIAL SKILLS TO YOUR STUDENTS

 

We all know how important it is to teach and support social skills. Year after year I see more and more children struggling to engage in even very basic social skills. 

It’s important to teach social skills, explicitly in many cases, to our students. From kindergarten, all the way through elementary school…and in some cases, beyond.

Here are the 5 basic social skills that I like to teach in the kindergarten classrooms that I service: 

 

Sharing

Cooperating

Taking Turns

Using Kind Language

Respecting Personal Space

 

 

 

Below are some creative ideas for how to teach these important social skills in your day-to-day teaching. I hope you find some helpful ideas that you can quickly and easily add to your routine.

 

Sharing Ideas: Create many opportunities for your students to share by making materials limited. For example, during a cut and paste activity, put out one less glue stick than number of children at the table. Support...

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10 GREAT BOOKS FOR TEACHING STUDENTS HOW TO GET ALONG WITH OTHERS

 

 

Do you like to read stories to your students to help teach important social skills concepts?  I use books with my social skills groups all-the-time.  Elementary students love to hear a story and it can be such a helpful way to teach skills without the student(s) feeling like you are calling them out.

Below is a list of 10 books that are GREAT to read to your class to support the very important social concept of getting along with others.

As you know, this concept is made up of many different social skills.  The books below cover many of these skills in a fun and engaging way.

I own most of these great books and read them often to my social skills groups. The students love them and they elicit wonderful and meaningful discussions and also lend themselves to many fun extension activities.

Some suggestions for how to foster the concepts discussed in the stories, are included.

 

 

I hope you find some books below that can help you when your...

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BACK TO SCHOOL! IT’S TIME TO TEACH SOCIAL SKILLS!

 

 

Back to school is right around the corner! How many days until you go back to school?! Summer break seems to go by faster every year. Soon we will all be checking off our school supplies lists and shopping for new school clothes.

As another new school year is about to begin, I’d like to share some of my favorite ways to help students build their social competence.

Of course academic are extremely important, and teachers are all very busy with overflowing academic plates, but I believe it is equally important {if not more} to grow our student’s social competence as well.

 

Why should we spend time working on social skills?

 

Because competent social skills are necessary for both academic and social success.  Students who have competent social skills will be able to engage with each other more successfully in the classroom, while working together on group projects, sharing space and materials with others, and while playing at recess.

Students...

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