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The Socially Skilled Kids Blog

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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HOW TO TEACH STUDENTS TO ASK QUESTIONS

Have you ever watched a group of your special education students having a “conversation?”  It can be very awkward, to say the least.  To be fair, I see similar behaviors when watching regular education students too. The students are talking…but are they having a true conversation?

A conversation is defined as a back and forth verbal exchange between two or more individuals.  Of course there is sooooooo much more to it.  Click Here to read the post with my top 10 recommended social skills needed to have a great conversation.  One of those very important skills is to RESPOND to others.  

When I watch my students{who haven’t used my strategies for having great conversations} engaging in a conversation… what I typically see is one child talking, then another child talking, then another…usually overlapping each other, rarely on the same topic, and sometimes with little to no regard for each other.

One of the...

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TEACHING SPECIAL EDUCATION STUDENTS CONVERSATIONAL TURN TAKING

 

Engaging in successful conversations can be very challenging for our kiddos with special needs.  Read more about why this seemingly simple activity is not-so-simple for those students, and get some helpful & free tips and tricks to help, HERE.

Probably the biggest reason that conversations are challenging for our students, is because, like so many things, there are actually many skills involved.  Conversation may be one word…but the skills involved in executing it…are numerous and complex.  They involve things like, 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 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 or as the other person is...

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HOW EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS AFFECT OUR STUDENT’S SOCIAL SKILLS

 
Functioning {EF} skills are the skills we need to complete everyday tasks.  They are like the air traffic controller of our brains, coordinating everything we do, say and think. 
 
We need EF skills to pursue our goals and to live independent lives.
 
 

WHAT ARE THE EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONING SKILLS?

 
The most commonly noted EF skills are:
 
  • Planning
  • Organization
  • Task Initiation
  • Time Management
  • Working Memory
  • Metacognition
  • Self Control
  • Attention
  • Flexibility
  • Perseverance

 

 

GRAB THIS FREE DOWNLOAD BY JOINING MY FREEBIES’S CLUB:

THE TEACHER’S LOUNGE, BY FILLING OUT THE FORM BELOW

 

SOME ADDITIONAL SKILLS THAT ARE CONSIDERED TO BE EF SKILLS ARE:

  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Emotional Control
  • Impulse Control
  • Self Monitoring
  • Prioritizing
  • Decision Making
  • Perspective Taking
 
Wow!  As you can see, there are A LOT of skills involved in Executive Functioning.
 
When a student is challenged in EF, is it any...
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UNDERSTANDING THE DEVELOPMENT {AND SPLINTER SKILLS} OF PERSPECTIVE TAKING

Engaging successfully in Perspective Taking requires a lot of  “splinter skills.”

While there is a developmental scope and sequence for Perspective Taking, for our kiddos, development is usually uneven, and skills are often scattered; leaving us trying to figure out what to teach, much like a puzzle.

 

 

I recommend spending some time figuring out, as best you can, where the student is at {in their perspective taking development} and which skills are lacking.  Then, start your teaching with the developmentally earliest skill on that list, and move along up the scale as you see success.

 

WHAT IS THE TYPICAL DEVELOPMENT OF PERSPECTIVE TAKING?

 

Here is a very basic overview:

Preschoolers:  These kiddos are just starting to figure out that people can have different feelings than they do.  This is at a very basic level…they mostly still think that other people share their feelings. 

 Kindergarten – Second...

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UNDERSTANDING AND TEACHING PERSPECTIVE TAKING IN SPECIAL EDUCATION

WHAT IS PERSPECTIVE TAKING?

 
Perspective Taking is the ability to look beyond one’s own point of view and consider how others may feel about something.  To take another’s perspective, one must have Theory of Mind, that is, understand that others have thoughts, feelings and opinions that may be different and are independent of your own. 
 

Why is Perspective Taking Important?

 
  • Because we do not live in isolation {We are often around others}
  • Because we often feel differently or have different experiences {than do our peers} 
  • Because we need to take perspective to successfully work and play with others
  • Because perspective taking allows us to make and keep friends {jobs and romantic partners}
 

So how can we help our special students, develop and improve their perspective taking skills?

 

 

Below is a list of some important splinter skills that I think are essential to teach, in order to improve their...
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PERSPECTIVE TAKING: THE MOST IMPORTANT SKILL TO TEACH!

 

WHY IS PERSPECTIVE TAKING SO IMPORTANT?

Perspective Taking is so important for children to learn because they need perspective taking skills to relate to others, to make others feel comfortable around us, and to know how to influence others in a positive way.

To help children develop and improve their perspective taking skills, we need to first explain what perspective taking is, then provide many examples of situations which would require good perspective taking, in order to have a successful social experience.

In other words, define it and practice it.

 

Define it:

Perspective Taking is understanding something from someone else’s point of view.

*Note: You do not have to agree with someone, to understand their perspective. Understanding someone’s perspective means that you can cognitively understand why they are doing, thinking or saying something; but it does not mean that you have to agree with it. 

For example; if a student can take the...

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