Here is a developmental, evidence-based program for social language skills. This program is based on the results of the Social Language Development Test Elementary, research, and practical experience.
- Recognize, understand, and successfully deal with positive and negative social situations
- Consider and respond to other people's perspectives
- Get along with others
- Make and keep friends
Students learn to recognize, understand, and successfully deal with positive and negative social situations. Units of the book are arranged in order of general skill complexity and development. Specific skills addressed include:
Interpretation of facial expressions, gestures, and nonverbal language
- compare and contrast facial expressions
- interpret facial expressions and gestures appropriately
- understand the vocabulary for describing and interpreting emotions
- pay attention to relevant details and ignore irrelevant ones
- use context, body language, and other clues to make reasonable inferences
- identify problems
- predict the consequences and choose the best solution
- evaluate the results
- observe details
- differentiate important from unimportant details
- use logic
- think about how others might feel
- understand how friends act toward each other
- handle difficult social situations appropriately
- support friends and preserve friendships
- how to show respect to peers, siblings, and adults
- identify the qualities of a good friend
- disagree tactfully
- seek mutual resolutions to problems;
- use persuasion effectively
Reading between the lines
- interpret nonverbal communcation, sarcasm, and tone of voice
- the use of vague communication
Students focus on specific social language skills while using the activity sheets for discussion; sharing related personal experiences; and scripting, if necessary. Scene illustrations segue into role-playing. The need for writing is minimal.
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- Children with limited language skills experience a poor quality of social interactions (Cohen, Menna, Vallance, Barwick, Im, & Horodezky, 1998; Craig, 1993; Fujiki, Brinton, Robinson, & Watson, 1997; Hadley & Rice, 1991). 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).
- The social growth and acceptance of children with specific language impairment (SLI) may depend on intervention designed to help them express their own perspectives effectively and, at the same time, recognize the perspectives of others (Brinton, Fujiki, & McKee, 1998).
- Social cognitive intervention can improve the social functioning of students with Asperger's or high-functioning autism. Training tasks can include interpreting verbal/nonverbal actions or intentions, understanding social reciprocity, and adjusting verbal/nonverbal behavior according to social cues (Crooke, Hendrix, & Rachman, 2007).
- Visual supports successfully increase social communication and generalization to new activities in individuals with ASD (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2006).
- 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).
- 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).
Social Language Training Elementary incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). (2006). Guidelines for speech-language pathologists in diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of autism spectrum disorders across the life span. Available from www.asha.org/policy
Brinton, B., Fujiki, M., & McKee, L. (1998). Negotiation skills of children with specific language impairment. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 41, 927-940.
Calkins, L. (2001). The art of teaching reading. New York: Addison- Wesley Publications.
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.
Crooke, P.J., Hendrix, R.E., & Rachman, J.Y. (2007). Teaching social thinking to children with ASD: An effectiveness study. Presentation at the ASHA Convention, November, 2007.
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.
McMackin, M.C. & Lawrence, S. (2001). Investigating inferences: Constructing meaning from expository texts. Reading Horizons, 42, 117-137.