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

Teach adolescents to glean information from a variety of sources to make accurate inferences about social situations and respond appropriately. 


  • Detect and interpret others' perspectives correctly
  • Make accurate inferences
  • 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 and teach them to:

  • use dialog and questioning to make inferences about occupation, location, and action
  • make inferences about social situations from body language and photographs
  • explore social expectations and social status
  • organize and use basic information to make accurate inferences
  • make appropriate social comments
  • understand and interpret indirect requests
  • judge intentions and understand 

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 Making Social Inferences 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
  • Explicitly teaching and reinforcing inference-making leads to better outcomes in overall text comprehension, text engagement and metacognitive thinking.  Students should cite the evidence they used to draw conclusions in order to make the implicit process of making inferences more explicit (McMackin & Lawrence, 2001; Project for School Intervention, 2004).
  • Teaching students to make inferences teaches them how to seek meaning in what they read and how to make meaning in their lives (Calkins, 2001).
  • 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).
  • 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).
  • 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).

Spotlight on Social Skills Adolescent Making Social Inferences 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.

Calkins, L.M. (2001). The art of teaching reading. Boston: Addison Wesley Longman.

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.

McMackin, M.C., & Lawrence, S. (2001) Constructing meaning from expository texts. Reading Horizons, 42, 117-137.

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

Project for School Innovation. (2004). Making inferences from text. Retrieved October 1, 2007, from Project for School Innnovation Web site:



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

The skill of making social inferences is not easily approached in isolation.  Making accurate inferences about social situations and expectations depends upon many factors, including interpreting information about emotions, locations, social status, and communication intentions.  Making an incorrect social inference and responding inappropriately in a social situation can have disastrous communication consequences.  Students with special needs often have difficulty deciding what is appropriate to say and when it is appropriate to say it.  Spotlight on Social Skills Adolescent Making Social Inferences focuses on presenting a wide variety of contexts for practicing making accurate inferences and responding appropriately.  These are the outcomes of this book:

  • understand the difference between making a guess and making an inference
  • use dialog and questioning to make inferences about occupation, location, and action
  • make inferences about social situations from body language and photographs
  • explore how social expectations differ in public and private settings
  • consider social status when making communication choices
  • organize and use basic information to make accurate inferences
  • make appropriate social comments
  • understand and interpret indirect requests
  • judge intentions and understand consequences

Here are some tips to conduct social inference training with your students:

  • You can practice a basic level of making inferences by having your students make guesses based on pantomime and nonverbal information.  Write easily-mimed everyday activities on slips of paper (hitting a baseball, working on a computer, mixing batter, eating a sandwich, etc.) and have your students use the activities to play charades.  After each activity is guessed, challenge students to extend the activity by asking contextual questions about it: "Where would you do this activity?" "Where wouldn't you do this activity?" "What person would do this activity?"  This practice will help your students see how actions, locations, and the people who do them are all elements that combine to create a social situation.  Understanding the individual activities, who does them, and why is a good first step toward making more complicated social inferences.
  • Explore social situations from a clinical perspective.  Use a graphic organizer to break down individual elements of typical social situations.  If you want to talk about appropriate ways to interact and communicate during lunchtime, create a diagram that illustrates the place, people, and rules that make up the situation.  Encourage students to use a graphic format to gather information in situations and use their models to make inferences or mentally rehearse how they will interact in those situations.
  • Prepare your students in advance to approach novel social situations.  If a student's class is taking a field trip, work together to list behavioral expectations and review them several times before the event.  During each review, ask "What if" questions about the expectations.  For example, if an expectation is to talk quietly on the bus ride, ask "What if someone yells a question at you from across the bus?"  Brainstorm appropriate ways to respond to situations that might disrupt the behavioral expectations.
  • Have your students view brief snippets of movies or TV shows without sound.  Ask them to make inferences about the places, people, and relationships in the clips.  Encourage them to provide reasons for their inferences by asking questions, such as "How do you know those people are angry at one another?" or "What makes you think these people are at a party?"  Then have your students imagine themselves in a situation after they've viewed it (you might "freeze frame" a segment as a visual cue).  Have students talk about how they would interact with the characters on the screen and ask them to role-play appropriate dialog for the scene.  Complete the activity by playing the clip with sound and talk about how the dialog, sound effects, and background music work together to create an overall message.

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

Carolyn and Paul