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Scripts for Role-Playing Setting the Stage for Social Success Future Books®
Ages: 8-13   Grades: 3-8

"I can't believe you're eating that!"  "I gotta go, I gotta go!"  These social comments are lesson topics in this unique series of interactive group lessons that target discrete, everyday social situations.

 

Outcomes

  • Promote self-awareness, appropriate social interaction, and cooperative learning
  • Use strategies for social success comfortably
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The program is designed for students who have largely intact language skills but lack social insight.  Based on role-playing and employing a social cognitive approach, the lessons include one-page scripts for students to act out and discussion questions to help them analyze the behaviors portrayed in the scripts.  Actors (students) learn to consider how body language, tone of voice, volume, and gestures affect social communication.  Audience members (peers) carefully watch and analyze these aspects.

This Future Book is divided into three sections: School Scripts, Friends and Family Scripts, and General Language Scripts.  Over 130 lessons target right-on social situations, such as Where Should I Sit?, Hallway Noises, Hands Off, Too Many Questions, and Is This Meal for Real?

Each Lesson includes:

  • lesson plan outline
  • home connection letter
  • two scripts, one version in which the characters are socially successful and one in which they are not
  • discussion questions
  • self-evaluation rubric
  • teacher evaluation rubric
  • mini-poster or activity page when appropriate

 

Copyright © 2009

Components
PDF CD-ROM, 130 three- to five-page lessons in black and white only
  • Group social interventions are most effective when delivered in a direct instruction format (Kroeger, Schultz, & Newsom, 2007).
  • When you're acting, you must put yourself in somebody else's shoes and imagine what that person is thinking and feeling (Heston, n.d.).
  • "Social skills are crucial to success in the classroom, the workplace, and the community" (Foden & Anderson, 2009).
  • Effective social skills intervention programs make the abstract concrete, provide structure and predictability, foster self-awareness and self-esteem, and address relevant goals (Krasney, Williams, Provencal, & Ozonoff, 2003).
  • Promotion of skill generalization through peer involvement, involving parents, and assigning homework are promising strategies (Williams White, Kroenig, & Scahill, 2007).
  • Children with autism report higher degrees of loneliness than their typical age-mates (Bauminger, Shulman, & Agam, 2003).
  • Suggested ways to teach social skills include role-playing exercises, practicing automatic and brief responses, learning small talk, and providing feedback.  Additionally, role-playing interactions that include social errors followed up with discussion and repair of the situation are also suggested ways to teach social skills (Holmes & Fillary, 2000).
  • As many as 75% of children with learning disabilities have social skill deficits (Kavale & Forness, 1996).  

Scripts for Role-Playing Setting the Stage for Social Success incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.

References

Bauminger, N., Shulman C., & Agam, G. (2003). Peer interaction and loneliness in high-functioning children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 33(5), 489-507.  

Foden, T.J., & Anderson, C. (2009). Social skills interventions: Getting to the core of autism. Retrieved June 1, 2009, from www.iancommunity.org/cs/what_do_we_know/social_skills_interventions  

Heston, S. (n.d.). The Dorothy Heathcote Archive. The Ph.D. thesis volume 1. Retrieved June 2, 2009, from www.partnership.mmu.ac.uk/drama/HESTON/default.html  

Holmes, J., & Fillary, R. (2000). Handling small talk at work: Challenges for workers with intellectual disabilities. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 47(3), 273-291.  

Kavale, K.A., & Forness, S.T. (1996). Social skills deficits and LD: A meta-analysis. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 29, 226-237.

Krasney, L., Williams, B.J., Provencal, S., & Ozonoff, S. (2003). Social skills interventions for the autism spectrum: Essential ingredients and a model curriculum. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 12(1), 107-112.  

Kroeger, K.A., Schultz, J.R., & Newsom, C. (2007). A comparison of two group-delivered social skills programs for young children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37(5), 808-817.  

Williams White, S., Kroenig, K., & Scahill, L. (2007). Social skills development in children with autism spectrum disorders: A review of the intervention research. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37(10), 1858-1868.    

Author(s)

Kathleen Babineau

Biography

Kathleen Aiken Babineau, M.S., CCC-SLP received her bachelor's and master's degrees in Communication Disorders from the University of New Hampshire.  She has served as a speech-language pathologist at Forestdale Elementary School in Sandwich, Massachusetts for the past five years.  Kathleen and her husband have three terrific kids.  Together they enjoy summers, baseball, and the natural beauty of Cape Cod.  Scripts for Role-Playing Setting the Stage for Social Success is Kathleen's first publication with LinguiSystems.

Introduction

While working with a group of boys several years ago, two of whom had social skills weaknesses, my lesson plan objective was turned upside down.  The intent of the lesson was to read a play together to address comprehension, fluency, and interaction skills.  Interestingly, this "play reading" instead became a lesson in tone of voice, body language, facial expression, volume, observation, and turn-taking.  To my delight, the students were engaged throughout the activity and requested that we do it again!  These students, and many after them, taught me that drama and theater are safe, fun, and objective vehicles to explore, practice, and discuss verbal and nonverbal social language.  As a result of this experience, I developed original social skill scripts to use with our afterschool social skills program.  These scripts have evolved into effective, fun, and engaging teaching tools.

While many children know almost intuitively if they are welcome to join a group, how to initiate contact with a peer or an adult, or how to read body language, children with social skills deficits find these everyday tasks challenging.  Without intervention, children with social skills deficits "are especially vulnerable to being excluded from their peer group and leading impoverished play lives" (Yang, Wolfberg, Wu, & Hwu, 2003, p. 438).  Drawing on the social cognitive approach (Winner, 2000; 2002) and incorporating the "essential ingredients" for social skills intervention (Krasney, Williams, Provencal, & Ozonoff, 2003), Scripts for Role-Playing: Setting the Stage for Social Success:

  • gives children opportunities to learn through observation and participation
  • utilizes peer interaction
  • promotes self-awareness
  • provides concrete teaching and examples, predictable routines, and generalization to real-life situations

 

Program Design

  • This program is designed to be used with groups of students.  Ideally, groups should include at least six students, with an equal number of students with social skills deficits and age-matched peers with intact social skills.
  • This program is intended for children who have typically-developing overall cognitive language skills but who exhibit deficits in social communication.
  • Topic areas are most appropriate for students in grades three through eight.
  • Fluent reading skills at the third grade level are recommended for participation, although it is possible to include students with lower grade-level skills, with assistance and modifications.
  • These lessons were originally used with afterschool social skills groups but are equally appropriate for use in the classroom, with recess and lunch groups, and with pull-out groups.
  • Children with high-functioning autism, Asperger's syndrome, attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder, and nonverbal learning disability will enjoy actively participating in this structured, script-based approach to learning and practicing social skills.

 

Contents of the CD-ROM
Scripts for Role-Playing Setting the Stage for Social Success is divided into three books: School Scripts, Friends and Family Scripts, and General Language Scripts.  Each book contains anywhere from seven to eleven themed units, and each unit contains three to ten lessons.

  • The Rules of Theater - Students learn appropriate audience behavior and the basics of reading scripts.  They will understand and keep in mind body language, tone of voice, volume, gestures, etc.  Students who are audience members learn to watch and analyze these elements, and learn to be a respectful audience.  Review this unit frequently.
  • Foreword to Instructor - The Foreword explains the purpose of the topic and skills addressed in that unit.
  • Home Connection Letter - Use the Home Connection Letter to communicate with parents/caregivers.  This letter provides an overview of the unit and suggests activities to support generalization and carryover of skills.
  • Lesson Plan - Every lesson plan includes a materials list and a script to read to the students that introduces the concept and guides discussion.  Many lessons also include mini-posters and optional extension activities.
  • Scripts - Each lesson includes Script A and Script B.  The characters in Script A experience a social breakdown; the characters in Script B experience social success.  Questions at the end of each script guide discussion about the success or demise of each scenario.
  • Rubrics - Students complete a Self-Evaluation Rubric after each lesson.  Teachers complete a Teacher Evaluation Rubric to evaluate student performance and to track progress.

How to Use Scripts for Role-Playing Setting the Stage for Social Success
Begin with The Rules of Theater unit and review as often as necessary so students master appropriate audience behaviors and basics of reading scripts.  Send the Home Connection Letter to caregivers when beginning a new unit to support generalization and carryover of skills.  Select specific units and lessons based on your students' needs.  For each selected lesson:

  • Gather materials and props as listed on Lesson Plan.
  • Introduce the concept. Use chart paper to jot down ideas generated by students during discussion.
  • Review the rules for being good actors and respectful audience members.
  • Distribute the scripts and assign the parts.
  • Students who are not assigned a character in a script are included as essential audience members who observe and respond as actors "perform" successful and unsuccessful versions of everyday social scenarios.
  • Read the scripts and answer discussion questions.
  • Complete extension activities where indicated.
  • Use chart paper to outline key points and important elements of the lesson.
  • Complete teacher and student evaluation rubrics.  These promote student self-awareness and measure growth.

Outcomes

  • Promote social interaction and cooperative learning among children with social skills weaknesses and their peers
  • Increase self-awareness within the context of social scenarios
  • Teach and practice strategies to successfully navigate social situations
  • Improve the ability to interpret and analyze subtleties of social interactions
  • Document progress through evaluation rubrics and checklists
  • Provide a home-to-school connection through family letters

I hope you and your students will enjoy using these scripts and lesson plans to address social skills in a creative format.  Students will see how their words, behaviors, body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice influence communication and are perceived by others.  They will learn that social interaction skills are critical to success in school and in life.  It is my hope that students will:

  • form and maintain friendships
  • support their peers
  • interact positively at home
  • be socially successful in their school community

 

Kathleen