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The Socially Skilled Kids Blog



Engaging in successful conversations is an important social skill that can be very challenging for our kiddos with special needs. 

Probably the biggest reason that basic and friendly conversations are challenging for children's development of communication skills, is because, like so many things, there are actually many language skills involved Conversation may be one word, but the skills involved in executing it, are numerous and complex. 

Conversations involve complex social skills such as, Perspective Taking and Self-Regulation, which are often difficult for students with special needs. 



Here are my Top 10 picks for the most important skills needed to be taught to special education students, to help them implement effective ways to engage in better conversations with their peers:

1. Physical Proximity

How many times have you seen your students talking to someone as they are walking away...

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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, teaching teamwork and cooperation skills are essential skills all-year-long, and are used in nearly every activity in school and in life.


For me, the importance of teaching teamwork and cooperation skills 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 and the good news is, you can learn them too! This post will look at the difference between teamwork and cooperation and it will give you some good ideas on how to teach these skills in your classroom.



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We all know how important it is to teach and support social pragmatic skills. Year after year I see more and more children struggling to engage in even very basic social interactions and social situations throughout the school day. This post provides 5 basic social skills activities you can use with your students.

It’s important to teach social pragmatic 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 promote strong social skills: 




Taking Turns

Using Kind Language

Respecting Personal Space




Below are some great social skills activities, tools, and ideas for how to teach these important social pragmatics in your day-to-day teaching and lesson plans. I hope you find some helpful ideas that you can quickly and easily add throughout the school...

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Do you have students who get really upset when they make even the smallest mistake? 

Do you have students who try so hard to avoid making mistakes that they get incredibly anxious and preoccupied with doing something “right?”

Do you have students who struggle to understand (or admit) when they have made a mistake that requires an apology?

I do.


I have students who will rip their papers if they don’t like the way something looks. They will work really hard on something and then, out of (what seems like) nowhere, rip it up and throw it across the room. 

It’s heartbreaking.

I also have students who are so afraid to make a mistake that they sit quietly all day and will not start anything until the teacher gives them explicit instructions.  They ask the same questions over and over, checking, to make sure they are doing it “right.”


And yes, I also have students who refuse to admit when they make a...

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As a mother and a special educator, I generally feel pretty good about my ability to teach children the necessary life skills for a successful future.  But recently I was thinking about several life skills that I didn’t teach, at least not as early on as I probably should have! 



1. Putting on/fastening a belt

My son recently got a job as a golf caddy. He has to wear a belt. Watching him try to put one on for the first time was truly painful!  Did I ever teach him how to put on and fasten a belt?


All the kids these days wear jogging pants to school, at home, everywhere.  When he was little, I dressed him.  We don’t have “dressy” occasions to go to very often so he never even owned a belt until he started caddying. 

But there comes a time in everyone’s life when they need to wear a belt.  Teach kids how to do this before, they are expected to know how to do it… and become...

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