LinguiSystems home
Spotlight on Social Skills Adolescent Emotions
Ages: 11-18   Grades: 6-Adult

Focus on the communication of emotions from understanding basic vocabulary associated with emotional expression to the nuances of interpreting emotions. 


  • Detect and interpret others' emotions correctly
  • Increase success in social communication and social interactions
  • Boost self-esteem by learning how to control social interactions
Add to Cart
** This is a Cloud E-Book that is accessible from any device with Internet access. .

The activity pages are filled with graphic organizers and interesting photos.  The lessons give students specific, clear directions that help them:

  • explore how degrees of emotion affect responses
  • compare negative and positive emotional states
  • respond appropriately to others' emotional states
  • understand how actions affect others' emotions
  • exhibit self-control in emotionally-charged situations
  • handle bullies
  • consider hidden factors for a behavior

The activities are designed for students with special needs and use these learning strategies:

  • explicit instruction
  • modeling
  • observation
  • discussion
  • role-playing
  • other guided practice

The lessons can be presented to individual students or small groups of students.  You may purchase Emotions individually or as a 6-book set.  The 6-book set consists of:

Spotlight on Social Skills Adolescent Conversations
Spotlight on Social Skills Adolescent Emotions
Spotlight on Social Skills Adolescent Getting Along
Spotlight on Social Skills Adolescent Interpersonal Negotiation
Spotlight on Social Skills Adolescent Making Social Inferences
Spotlight on Social Skills Adolescent Nonverbal Language

Copyright © 2008

40 pages, pretest/posttest, answer key
  • Children with limited language skills experience a poor quality of social interactions (Hadley & Rice, 1991; Fujiki et al., 1997; Craig, 1993; Cohen et al., 1998).  Such children have greater deficits in social cognitive processing than children with typically developing language.  They have particular deficits in identifying the feelings of each participant in a conflict, identifying and evaluating strategies to overcome obstacles, and knowing when a conflict is resolved (Cohen et al., 1998).
  • Students can learn how and when to use rational processes to override their emotions, or to hold them in check.  We should seek to develop forms of self-control among students and staff that encourage nonjudgmental, nondisruptive venting of emotion that generally must occur before reason can take over (Sylwester, 1994).
  • For students with ASD, explicit instructions to attend to facial expression and tone of voice can elicit increased activity in the medial prefrontal cortex, part of the key network for understanding others' intentions (Wang et al., 2007).
  • Only 7% of the information we communicate to others depends upon the words we say; 93% depends on nonverbal communication (Mehrabian, 1971).
  • Intervention for adolescents with language impairments may include objectives aimed at improving deficient social communication skills (Henry et al., 1995; Bliss, 1992).
  • In selecting remediation targets within social communication among adolescents, clinicians should consider the relative importance of various communication skills in terms of enhancing peer communication.  Communication skills involving social perspective taking (including nonverbal language) that focus on another person are more valued by adolescents than skills that focus on the speaker's thoughts or linguistics (Henry et al., 1995).

Spotlight on Social Skills Adolescent Emotions incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.


Bliss, L.S. (1992). A comparison of tactful messages by children with and without language impairment. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 23, 343-347.

Cohen, N.J., Menna, R., Vallance, D.D., Barwick, M.A., Im, N., & Horodezky, N.B. (1998). Language, social cognitive processing, and behavioral characteristics of psychiatrically disturbed children with previously identified and unsuspected language impairments. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 39, 853-864.

Craig, H. (1993). Social skills of children with specific language impairment: Peer relationships. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 24, 206-215.

Fujiki, M., Brinton, B., Robinson, L.A., & Watson, V. (1997). The ability of children with specific language impairment to participate in a group decision task. Journal of Childhood Communication Development, 18, 1-10.

Hadley, P.A., & Rice, M.L. (1991). Conversational responsiveness in speech and language-impaired preschoolers. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 34, 1308-1317.

Henry, F.M., Reed, V.A., & McAllister, L.L. (1995). Adolescents' perceptions of the relative importance of selected communication skills in their positive peer relationships. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 26, 263-272.

Mehrabian, A. (1971). Silent messages. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Sylwester, R. (1994). How emotions affect learning. Educational Leadership, 52, 60-66.

Wang, A.T., Lee, S.S., Sigman, M., & Dapretto, M. (2007). Reading affect in the face and voice: Neural correlates of interpreting communicative intent in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Archives of General Psychiatry, 64, 698-708.


Carolyn LoGiudice, Paul F. Johnson


Carolyn LoGiudice, M.A., CCC-SLP, wrote and edited products and tests for LinguiSystems for 25 years, incorporating her previous experience as an SLP in school and clinic settings.  She is now retired and savoring time with her family, friends, and hobbies.

Paul F. Johnson, B.A., is a writer and editor at LinguiSystems.  He has a special interest in developing thinking and communication skills in students of all ages.  He also enjoys music, cooking, gardening, traveling, and spending time with his family.

Carolyn and Paul have collaborated to develop several publications, including Story Comprehension To Go, No-Glamour Sequencing Cards, and Spotlight on Reading & Listening Comprehension.


Adolescents who have not acquired appropriate social skills on their own are unlikely to develop those skills without specific instruction.  Activities in Spotlight on Social Skills Adolescent include explicit teaching, modeling, observation, discussion, role-playing, and other guided practice to spotlight specific social skill areas from different perspectives and with varying everyday situations.  These activities can be presented to individual students or small groups of students with similar skill deficits.

Before beginning any social skill training, you should evaluate each student's current performance.  Determine whether the student has a performance deficit (has the skills but doesn't use them) or an acquisition deficit (lacks the skills or the discrimination of which behaviors to use in specific situations).  The activities in this series are designed for students who need direct instruction and guided practice to acquire and master specific skills.  Use the pretest/posttest, observation, teacher reports, and/or personal interview to select appropriate lessons to present.  These are the books in Spotlight on Social Skills Adolescent:

  • Nonverbal Language
  • Making Social Inferences
  • Emotions
  • Conversations
  • Getting Along
  • Interpersonal Negotiation

Understanding others' emotions and appropriately responding to them is the cornerstone of good communication.  Often students with special needs have difficulty understanding their own emotions and expressing them appropriately.  Since conversation and productive communication require that partners mirror one another's emotional states, it is vital that students learn the language of emotions and understand how appropriate actions contribute to better communication.  Spotlight on Social Skills Adolescent Emotions focuses on emotions from understanding basic vocabulary associated with emotional expression to the nuanced emotional interpretation even the simplest social interactions demand.  These are the objectives of this book:

  • learn the vocabulary associated with basic emotions
  • explore how degrees of emotion affect responses
  • compare negative and positive emotional states
  • appropriately respond to others' emotional states
  • understand how actions affect others' emotions
  • exhibit self-control in emotionally-charged situations
  • handle bullies and understand the motivation for bullying behavior
  • reduce impulsivity by considering hidden factors for a behavior
  • role-play emotionally-charged conversational situations

Here are some tips to conduct emotions training with your students:

  • Emotions are not reflected solely in our mental states.  Each emotion we feel manifests itself in physiological changes as well.  Talk with your students about the changes their bodies go through as they experience emotions (heart rate increases with anxiety and fright, metabolism and energy go down during depression and loneliness, energy level increases with happiness and joy, etc.).  Have your students do an Internet search on "physical changes and emotions" to discover more precise information on physiological changes associated with emotions.  Use a large silhouette of a human body and label body part changes associated with different emotions on it.
  • Play a "Guess the Emotion" game.  Begin by writing several brief, emotionally-neutral quotes on slips of paper ("How are you today?" "That's an interesting shirt." "This weather is nice.").  On another set of slips of paper, write an emotion on each slip (the list on page 14 is a good resource).  Put the two sets of slips in different containers.  Then have a student pick a quote and an emotion slip. Have the student speak the quote in the emotional tone he picked.  Encourage the student to use tone of voice, body language and other nonverbal cues to express the emotion.  For example, if he picked "How are you today?" and "angry," he should use an angry voice to ask the question, narrow his eyes and frown angrily.  See if the other students can guess what emotion he is trying to express.
  • We experience different kinds of emotions in all settings.  Here's a good activity to illustrate that concept.  Use the emotion slips of paper that you made in the game above.  Have someone name a place, such as the library, the kitchen, a gas station, etc. (Note: avoid the bedroom and the bathroom).  Then have another student randomly choose an emotion slip and tell something that might happen in the location that would evoke the emotion using this carrier phrase, "I felt _______ in the _______ because_______ ."  For example, if the place was the cafeteria and the emotion was thrilled, the student might say, "I felt thrilled in the cafeteria because today was pizza day and I love pizza!"  Have the next student draw another emotion slip and use the same location.  That student might say "I felt embarrassed in the cafeteria because I spilled soup on my lap in front of everyone."  Use the same location until everyone in the group has associated an emotion and a cause with it.
  • Exhibiting self-control is difficult for many adolescents.  Due to the high degree of developmental brain activity they are experiencing, their reactions to emotional situations are often amplified.  Often, getting adolescents to simply delay their responses to situations can solve and prevent many problems.  Have your students brainstorm strategies to avoid reacting immediately to emotional situations (taking a deep breath, closing your eyes and visualizing something peaceful, etc.).  Encourage each student to choose a strategy and commit to using it.  Periodically review these strategies and ask students to share situations in which they've successfully (or unsuccessfully) used these calming strategies.

We hope you and your students enjoy Spotlight on Social Skills Adolescent Emotions!

Carolyn and Paul