Showing posts with label social language skills. Show all posts
Showing posts with label social language skills. Show all posts

3 Ways to Teach Saying Thank You! Even When You Don't Mean It!

Little kids get reminded by their parents all the time: “Say please.” “Say thank you.” This is how we start teaching politeness. Politeness and manners are such important social skills!

When friction develops, manners can keep a situation calm enough to talk it out instead of fighting. In normal everyday life, it is practice beginning to be able to take another’s perspective.

Think about it- who does saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ benefit? The speaker or the listener? Obviously, the listener or we wouldn’t have to work so hard to get kids into the routine of saying it!

3 Ways to teach children to say thanks- and why it is important! Looks Like Language
Although they may say it faithfully as a learned routine, children with autism may have a difficult time understanding why it is important. Even more difficult- saying thank you when you don’t like the gift!

To help with this important skill, I have 3 ideas for you today!










1. PRACTICE the ROUTINE

Politeness is such an important social skill!
Young or nonverbal children can benefit from practicing the routine. This adapted book set will let you put items that your students like and dislike in the presents to visually teach that we still say thank you. Opening presents is such a fun activity, even when it is make-believe!





Using shoebox to teach children to say thanks! Looks Like Language
Of course, having some decorated boxes to open up and see a real toy inside is a great activity to coordinate with the book. You can read more about it here.



2. USE WORDS to TALK about FEELINGS
Have fun practicing politeness with this free game from Looks Like Language!

This free game from my store gets kids identifying how receiving different toys would make them feel and giving an appreciative response anyway. Try it out here

(Kind feedback is always appreciated as a thank you!)





3. EXPLAIN  WHY

This social rules story can help your older children or students to begin to understand why it is important to say thank you for gifts we don’t really want. 


This social rules story explains why we say thank you!
The pictured page is filled in completely and can be used for bulletin boards.

The second page is a fill in the blank. You can use this page as a basis for discussion and letting your students fill in answers that are pertinent to their lives.

Click here to download this freebie as my way of saying, "Thank you for your support!"



Discussion questions could include:

* Did you ever get a present that you didn’t like?
* How did you react? What did you do or say?
* How did the person who gave you the gift react? What did they do or say?
* How did your reaction make them feel?
* Is that how you want that person to feel?
* What could you do differently next time?
* What could you say differently next time?
* How can you help yourself sound sincere? Sincere means you really mean it. We show that in our facial expressions, body language and tone of voice.


You can use all of these resources at holiday time or for birthdays! Enjoy!

5 Things NOT to Do When Building Conversation Skills

Would you like a life without conversations? No way! We probably can't even count how many we have during a day. So, try to imagine how the life of a child on the autism spectrum is like without this skill.

FREE Getting Started with Conversation Guide- Looks Like Language

No matter what we do to improve vocabulary, concepts, sentence structure, you name it, daily life functioning will be affected if we don't manage to get our students conversing socially. And it isn't always easy!

The traps I fell into when starting to work on this skill included:

* using imitative skills to have "conversations" which went nowhere.

* getting rote I like/What do you like interchanges only!
(While this is a beginning, it is definitely not an end goal.)

* prompting with 'say' and 'ask,' resulting in students getting confused about what was expected of them.

* prompting responses verbally, ending up with my students talking to me and not with each other!

* getting students to converse, but only on a limited range of topics or when prompted.

I knew that there must be a way to build conversation skills visually and avoid these issues. (You know that I am passionate about visuals and strategies!)

It took me lots of years of trial and error before I came up with the methods that worked for my students on the autism spectrum. I've had the clinician tested materials available for a while now, and I'm thrilled beyond measure that there are students out there making progress in conversation skills that I had a part in helping!

See what happy buyers have had to say:

"What a wealth of resources! The variety of books, games, and worksheets really offer a ton of ideas for therapy."

"So many great activities and materials for conversations!"

"These are great packets. Great visuals. Simple enough for almost any age/skill level. I really like the way each of these activities are presented and my kids enjoy them as well."

"I have been struggling to make/come up with activities for these skills, this bundle is going to be SO helpful in my sessions. THANK YOU!"

I want to help you see the information behind these useful materials, so I decided to make this brand new FREE guide call Getting Started with Conversation! 

It will help you with assessing current student status, planning therapy,  and measuring progress. 

To get this amazing 8 page FREE Getting Started with Conversation Guide, all you have to do is click here. Your email address will be collected so you can receive a monthly hello from me.


Build turn taking skills for conversation with loads of fun activities and printables!
Are you stressed for time? Are you too busy to create your own materials? Then try this out!

This fun packet is full of engaging activities for differentiated instruction and skill building, printable games and a checklist for tracking progress.

Enjoy!

AWESOME Resource Links for Social Skills: Emotions and Younger Students

Have you ever looked at the pile of materials you own and realize that you still don't have exactly what your student needs? I know that I often did!

Between differences in how they learn, what activities they enjoy, and how much practice is needed, I know that looking for resources can seem never-ending.

That is why I love to look for free help. And, of course, I want to share these resources with you!


Need some help finding free resources for teaching emotions? Check out this blog post!
Check out some FREE awesome resources!

I found a treasure trove of online ideas and activities for working on emotions and nonverbal language skills. 

This post features some of the fun, free online games I've found for young kids.

But, don't worry! If you work with older kids, there are some links for you, too. Just click here for some amazing free resources.




1. http://www.autismgames.com.au/game_eyecontact.html

Help kids realize that eye contact is important in this cute game.

If you don't make eye contact, learning to read nonverbal signals for emotions is going to much harder, if not impossible. So you can start here to help kids understand why it is important.








2. https://symbolworld.org/archive/Bits%2Bbobs/games/faces/index.htm

Hover over the faces to see the facial expression change.

This basic game has been archived, but it still works! Kids can hover over the faces to see the facial expression change.











3. http://www.autismgames.com.au/game_memotion.html

Match faces with the same emotions or listen to the story with emotion vocabulary in context.

This game shows faces for basic emotions and has students find matching faces. Simple practice is given for young children to respond in different ways: matching, dragging and memory. The emotions are used in a story context about Robbie the Robot. Love the Aussie accent!








4. https://do2learn.com/games/feelingsgame/index.htm

Find the person who feels the given emotion.

In this game, students find the photo of the face that matches the given emotion. Players can choose which person to use or mix up all three.











5. http://www.scholastic.com/earlylearner/parentandchild/feelings/feelinggame.htm
Match emoticons to the emotions.

Match the emoticons to the emotions in this cute, basic game for young kids. Someone needs to be able to read the emotions to them, however.










6. BOOM Teletherapy Cards- Social Skills for Emotions

Of course, I had to offer you a freebie of mine, too! It is great to have a quick and easy, no prep activity to review or end the session with.

You'll need to set up a Boom account to play this, but it is free! Your students will love the facial expressions on the cute monster faces, and you can make it a therapy activity by discussing each page first:

How does it feel?
How did you figure that out?
Did you ever have a time that you felt this way? What happened?

And if you work with older students, don't worry since I have some resources for you, too! Check out this post.

Enjoy!

Problem Solving Freebie- Turning Homework In

Do your students have get into situations that they can't handle? Are their responses limited to "It's NOT fair!" or explaining why they were right over and over again? 
Pull social skills together with this free uit from Looks Like Language.

While this is a normal stage of development for young children, at some point between 8 to 12 years, according to Robert Selman's work on the ability to take another's perspective, this skill should develop when students are exposed to it culturally, socially or educationally. There's an interesting, easy to read article about this here.

Just like every other language skills, our language impaired students are likely to need more direct teaching and more practice to be able to attain this skill. If your students need some work in this area, you might be interested in trying out one of my newest freebies! 

The Getting Work Done unit from the Perspective Taking and Problem Solving series can get your students thinking about and discussing the common problem of being organized. What happens when you don't get your homework turned in? Talk about it, and complete the problem solving worksheets, from different perspectives. Try it out! It is FREE! Just click here.

Enjoy! Linda

Change Can Be Hard! 7 Tips for Students


Teach 'CHANGE' in a non-emotional context- Tips from Looks-Like-Language
Change can truly be hard, even as capable adults, so it is not surprising that it is even more difficult for kids. Add on some communication difficulties, sensory problems, and a struggle that is already in place to make sense of a world with rules that are not understood, and it is no wonder that some of our kids have meltdowns when there is a change. 

In the northeast, spring can be a time of very visible change. In therapy, I like to make use of this to help my students understand what the word 'change' means in a non threatening context. It helps them to see that some changes can be positive, and handled, to help them make a bridge to coping with less welcomed changes. 


I'm sharing some photos of activities that are well loved and well used to let you see an example. The bottom left photo is an activity from a very old Sesame Street magazine. My students just loved it and learned that change can be fun! If you know about current places to get these types of activities, please comment with your resource. If they aren't available, I might give a try at making some because they work so well for eliciting this language!


A GOOD BOOK

I always try to start with a good book. One I love is White Rabbit Color Change by Alan Baker, which can be found as a read aloud on YouTube. Mine has been adapted and models the vocabulary 'change.'


Hands on fun to talk about change! Looks-like-Language
HANDS ON 
Next you need a good hands on activity! If you have a small caterpillar and a butterfly stuffed animal set, follow the picture directions to make a fun hands on activity! You just need a paper towel tube, scissors and tape to make it.
Here are the steps: 
1. Cut the paper towel tube in half lengthwise.
2. Cut the tube in half across the width.
3. Tape the pieces back together to make a cocoon.
4. Hide the butterfly inside.
5. Push the caterpillar into the cocoon and watch the change!

ADAPT A WORKSHEET
How about turning a worksheet into an activity? I love this one adapted from a Frank Schaffer worksheet where they can change a picture scene of winter to one of spring by placing the new scenery on top. To play this game, the students need to request which picture they want to change! Requesting a change may be a new experience for some of our kids, but it is functional for them to use when they don't like something that is going on. 

A LITTLE SABOTAGE

A follow up activity is to have them color the picture afterwards, but sabotage the situation by giving them the wrong color or the kind of marker/crayon/colored pencil they prefer the least. Prompt use of the word 'change.' "Oh, you didn't want blue? You want to change the color?" 

SILLY PICTURES

For older kids, it is fun to use silly pictures. After they identify what is wrong in the picture, have them explain how it should be changed to make it better. 

CARD GAMES

How about a card game? Matching games with pictures of natural changes also work. Changing caterpillars to cocoons to butterflies and solid (snowman) to liquid (water) are common examples.

SOME REAL LIFE

These games can also lead to a discussion of changes kids like versus changes they don't like. Start with the less personal examples, like cold weather versus warm weather, and then move to examples from during the school day. Think about bringing in possible negative changes:
* schedule changes
* teachers being absent
* fire drills
* disappointments over trips being cancelled
* lunch menu suddenly changing to the least favorite food
* no recess
* anything you know could be difficult for your students

Be sure to include positive changes:

* teacher deciding 'no homework'
* a birthday party
* a fun special, like a performance
* the lunch menu suddenly changing to your favorite food
* getting an award or prize
* anything special that happens at your school

When students have the language to think and talk about change in positive as well as negative ways,  it is a necessary stepping stone to having more flexible thinking and problem solving skills to help them cope when changes occur.


What are your favorite ways to teach about change?

My 3 Favorite, Fantastic Books For Emotions and Perspective Taking

Need some help working on emotions and social skills with your students? My last posts shared some tips and some amazing links for free information to use with a slant toward older or more skilled students. For me, that happened to be my emotionally disturbed students, who lack the emotion vocabulary needed for interactions with their peers, especially in terms of conflicts and problem solving.

This week is for sharing some of my favorite books and resources for younger or more limited students. In my case, this is my students who are on the autism spectrum. Unlike the students from last week, who initiate interactions with their peers, but then misinterpret social cues and get into conflicts, this week’s post is geared more towards students who have limited interactions with their peers or who interact without ever realizing that everyone else does not have the same interests that they do.

Vocabulary- The Basics
Still start with emotion vocabulary. See the last post here if you’d like some great links for the vocabulary resources. Choose your vocabulary targets to expand their language ability for thinking about and expressing their feelings, with activities based on the students’ ages and cognitive skills, and keeping in mind what problems they are showing in their school interactions.  Make sure they can use more than the 4 basic emotions and that they express degrees of emotion!

3 fantastic Go-To books for students with autism!
Literacy- Apply the Vocabulary with Skill Practice

After students can use the new words expressively and identify the basic emotion group, try using stories! Using literacy activities is good practice, especially for a caseload of limited readers, and good stories provide a context for understanding emotions and situations in a way that vocabulary drills won't. 

Perhaps most important of all, applying the new vocabulary in discussion of story plots helps students to understand that people have different perspectives. What made the story character feel angry may make your student feel sad.

No, David, NO! by David Shannon is an all time favorite for young children. David's antics are always getting him into trouble while he is just trying to have fun.

The simple plot and pictures are great for eliciting sentences in a story retell while the situations lend themselves to discussing cause-effect and why mom does not see things the way that David does.



A Bad Case of Stripes, also by David Shannon, is another one of my go - to books.  On the surface, the plot is seemingly a straight forward story abut a girl who has back to school nerves. The pictures in the books can engender a lot of discussion about facial expressions as Camilla develops a bad case of stripes after deciding to avoid her favorite food, lima beans. The underlying perspectives behind the plot about what motivated Camilla in her decision making were difficult for my upper elementary and lower middle school students to understand.

Dear Mrs. LaRue, by Mark Teague, is another elementary level paperback that worked well for these grades. I have to admit that the first time I read it, I wasn't sure that a letter style book could keep my students interested, but I was proven wrong! The illustrations in black and white versus color were of great interest, helping my students to compare the perspectives of Ike the dog to his owner, Mrs. LaRue. The vocabulary used and length of the letters were great for expanding the language and listening skills for the students in the group without social goals. Even better, there are so many free activities to be found online!

More Books for Teaching Emotion Vocabulary
You can get more ideas for books to use at these links:

The website has both a book list and teaching resource guides!

This link has the names of books sorted by the emotion it teaches, especially useful for targeting specific vocabulary.

This PDF gives ideas for how to use books to teach about emotions.

One of my favorite purchased resources for stories that directly teach emotion vocabulary is Focus on Feelings from Attainment Company. The stories feature older people, focus on specific vocabulary targets and review them in later stories, use real photos and are short enough to maintain my students attention!  

Do you have a favorite that I missed?

How to Apply Emotion Vocabulary to Problem Solving!


Vocabulary for emotions is an important life skill to teach all children! It helps them to be able to think about and deal with the emotions they are feeling, as well as talk about it. The last post shares tips and resources for teaching emotions vocabulary and extending it to solving problems. To really be able to solve social problems, though, students need to be able to see another person's point of view.


PROBLEM SOLVING

Free links for emotions and problem solving from Looks Like Language!
Use problem scenarios to apply the vocabulary your students just learned. Let them identify feelings and take the perspectives of other people in varied situations, explaining the points of view on what events in the situation cause them to feel that way. 

This type of activity is great for groups, as students may have different takes or opinions on how the characters in the scenario might feel, and often want to convince their friends of their own perspective. Coming up with alternative ways to solve the problem situation and practicing what to say (and how to say it!) are important skills, too.



Perspective Taking Worksheets and Activity Ideas:



If you haven’t seen Jill Kuzma’s website yet, you should definitely go there first! It is one of the best resources I have found!

http://www.creducation.org/resources/perception_checking/classroom_activities_on_perspective_taking.html

This site includes free downloads of pictures and activities that can be used in a classroom or adapted for therapy use.


This free download gives teaching hints for using interpreting faces in photos to figure out the person’s perspective. It includes actual photos to use, also!

Once my students can discuss these situations, it is time to get them using them in a more realistic time frame. Real life doesn't let us stop, think, discuss it with an adult and then respond!



Bubble Talk is one of my favorite games! The pictures are hilarious and students need to interpret facial expressions and nonverbal cues to figure out what the people could be saying.

Other games and ideas can be found at:

This free download gives lots of ideas for group games to play.

This free download has activities for teens.

Role playing links include:

This free download has good suggestions for how to set up and use role plays as a teaching strategy, as well as some scenarios to role play.

Scholastic provides a lesson plan, 10 role play scenarios to download and a poster.

You have to sign up for a free account here, but new materials are uploaded weekly by ESL teachers.

Just in case you are looking for additional help, these links are worth checking out, too!

Normative information

Research on adolescents  and social skills

Great resource for varied topics related to learning disabilities:

Teaching emotion vocabulary and perspectives made easy for mixed level groups!
If you are looking for engaging activities, printable games and homework worksheets. try this clinician tested packet that works for mixed level groups!

Enjoy!
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