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Spotlight on Social Skills Adolescent Interpersonal Negotiation
Ages: 11-18   Grades: 6-Adult

Students learn important skills needed for negotiation and successful conflict management with personalized instruction and real-life content. 


  • Detect and interpret others' perspectives correctly
  • Increase success in social communication and social interactions
  • Maintain long-term friendships
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** 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 and teach them to:

  • identify and state the problem from each party's perspective or a mutual perspective
  • discuss the problem with the other party and listen well to the other party
  • mutually determine appropriate solutions to satisfy both parties
  • accept compromises and negative outcomes graciously (i.e., be a good sport)

These learning strategies are used to give students practice in interpersonal negotiation:  

  • 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 Interpersonal Negotiation 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).
  • Social skills intervention can improve children's social cognitive skills (Timler et al., 2005).
  • Targeted language intervention with at-risk students may result in more cautionary, socially acceptable behaviors (Moore-Brown et al., 2002).  Intervention for adolescents with language impairments may include objectives aimed at improving deficient social communication skills (Henry et al., 1995; Bliss, 1992).
  • Interpersonal Negotiation Skills (INS) are important for social problem resolving (Leadbeater et al., 1989; Selman & Demorest, 1984).
  • Students with language disorders often perform much like younger, typically-developing students on measures of pragmatic development (Lapadat, 1991).
  • Only 7% of the information we communicate to others depends upon the words we say; 93% depends on nonverbal communication (Mehrabian, 1971).
  • 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 Interpersonal Negotiation 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.

Lapadat, J.D. (1991). Pragmatic language skills of students with language and/or learning disabilities: A quantitative synthesis. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 24, 147-158.

Leadbeater, B.J., Hellner, I., Allen, J.P., & Aber, J.L. (1989). The assessment of interpersonal negotiation strategies in multi-problem youth. Developmental Psychology, 25, 465-472.

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

Moore-Brown, B., Sanger, D., Montgomery, J., & Nishida, B. (2002). Communication and violence: New roles for speech-language pathologists. The ASHA Leader (April-June).

Selman, R. L., & Demorest, A.P. (1984). Observing troubled children's interpersonal negotiation strategies: Implication of and for a developmental model. Child Development, 55, 288-304.

Timler, G., Olswang, L., & Coggins, T. (2005). "Do I know what I need to do?" Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 36, 73-85.



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

Since peer relationships are the most important to the majority of adolescents, this training resource contains content mostly targeted to adolescent concerns and peer relationships.  Each activity sheet affords a chance to highlight a specific skill and to facilitate discussing that skill with your students.  The more you personalize the activities with examples from the students' particular situations, the more effective your training will be.

Spotlight on Social Skills Adolescent Interpersonal Negotiation teaches your students to manage everyday conflcts successfully.  Negotiation skills emerge and develop through adolescence and are usually first successful in peer relationships.  The same skills later generalize to interpersonal negotiation with adults, coworkers, and others.  These skills are required in order to manage interpersonal negotiation as well:

  • identify and state the problem from each party's perspective or a mutual perspective
  • discuss the problem with the other party; explain personal perspective and listen well to the other party's expressed and implied preferences
  • mutually determine appropriate solutions to satisfy both parties
  • accept compromises and negative outcomes graciously; be a good sport

Research suggests developmental levels of interpersonal negotiation.  Young children don't negotiate; they use physical or verbal action to get what they want or they avoid a conflict altogether.  Next they choose one-sided, all-or-nothing, win/lose solutions to conflicts; they control the other person or submit to what the other person wants.  At a cooperative level, students consciously seek solutions by making requests, giving suggestions, bribing, compromising, or accommodating another person's wishes.  During adolescence, interpersonal negotiation skills are refined via experience and maturation.  Students learn to discuss a conflict situation with the other party, working together to seek mutual goals.  The primary goal at this level is to maintain a solid, long-term relationship with a friend vs. to settle a disagreement just for the immediate moment (Selman & Schultz, 1989).

Here are some guidelines to keep in mind as you present the activities in this book to your students.

  • Taking another person's perspective is a prerequisite skill for mutual problem solving.  Students with weak skills in taking someone else's point of view may benefit from direct training in making general inferences as well as making multiple interpretations about situations.  Such training should emphasize that people can and do feel differently about similar situations due to their life experiences, preferences, etc.  As part of the training, teach your students to ask appropriate questions to learn what someone else thinks or wants.
  • Some adolescents cling to the less mature notion that fairness means "everyone gets the same" vs. the more mature concept: "Fairness means that everyone gets what he or she needs."  As your students seek options to solve problems, especially in situations involving unequal strengths or circumstances, encourage them to think about what would be fair, which is not necessarily equal (
  • Many students with language or social disorders lack confidence in expressing their opinions and suggestions to others.  Teach your students the importance of expressing their own perspectives clearly to avoid being ignored or overpowered in interpersonal negotiations.  Help them role-play interpersonal negotiations to build their confidence, especially for current personal situations they are trying to resolve.
  • Some problem solutions would work well for the immediate problem, but would not help to maintain a friendship or long-term relationship.  Talk with your students about the value of prioritizing long-term relationships above immediate peace or satisfaction.
  • For more in-depth background and teaching activities, see Room 28 A Social Language Program (LinguiSystems, 2004).

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

Carolyn and Paul

Selman, R.L. & Schultz, L.H. (1989). Children's strategies for interpersonal negotiation with peers: An interpretive/empirical approach to the study of social development. In T.J. Berndt, & G.W. Ladd (Eds.), Peer relationships in child development. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Fair" Isn't Always Equal.