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Social Language Development Scenes Elementary for Group Therapy
Ages: 6-11   Grades: 1-6         

Your students will "get" these social scenes because they've experienced them.  Teach them how to think about and respond to those experiences appropriately.


  • Make and keep friends
  • Detect and interpret nonverbal communication
  • Consider and respond to other people's perspectives
  • Identify and solve problems
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The flexible format of these cards—colorful, spirited illustrations on the front and a variety of stimuli on the back—lets you target a wide range of social skills in groups or individually.

Stimulate observation, dialogue, discussion, reasoning, recall, and perspective taking with questions and narratives on the back of every card.  Answers are included so you don't have any prep work!

Activities are based on research from The Social Language Development Test Elementary and reflect a developmental progression of specific social language skills among 6- to 11-year-olds.  The activities complement those in Social Language Training Elementary with more demands on social language comprehension, expression, and reasoning.

Skill areas include:

  • Interpreting Facial Expressions & Gestures—identify, label, and describe emotions; recognize and interpret nonverbal communication appropriately
  • Multiple Interpretations—make multiple, logical interpretations of a scene based on visual and/or context clues
  • Solving Problems—analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information to identify and solve problems
  • Making Inferences—make appropriate inferences based on visual and/or context clues
  • Friendship—show kindness and respect to others and support friends, even when disagreeing with them
  • Interpersonal Negotiation—learn to compromise, problem solve, listen, negotiate, and seek mutually-pleasing resolutions to conflicts
  • Reading Between the Lines—differentiate the true meaning of a spoken comment vs. the surface meaning of only words
  • Relating Personal Experience—express personal experiences and feelings and realize the value of considering other people's perspectives

Copyright © 2011

50 8½" x 11" double-sided, coated picture/stimuli cards; instructions; answer key; vinyl folder
  • Children with limited language skills 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).
  • Parents and teachers surveyed reported that children with autism showed deficits in initiating, responding to, and maintaining social interactions.  Appropriate peer interactions, usually facilitated in a social language group, can play a vital role in enhancing a child's social and language outcomes (Murray, Ruble, Willis, & Molloy, 2009).

Social Language Development Scenes Elementary for Group Therapy incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.


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(6), 853-864.

Murray, D.S., Ruble, L.A., Willis, H., & Molloy, C.A. (2009). Parent and teacher report of social skills in children with autism spectrum disorders. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 40(2), 109-115.




Providing stimulating, effective social language therapy in a mixed group setting can be challenging.  Use Social Language Development Scenes Elementary for Group Therapy to present real-world situations that will engage all students.  These 50 picture scenes illustrate a wide variety of everyday situations that provide tons of opportunities to elicit social language.  The variety of stimulus items on the back of each card reflects the skills assessed in The Social Language Development Test Elementary and Social Language Training Elementary:

  • Facial Expressions & Gestures       
  • Supporting Friends
  • Multiple Interpretations                      
  • Respecting Others
  • Identifying & Solving Problems        
  • Interpersonal Negotiation
  • Making Inferences                             
  • Reading Between the Lines

The scenes present social situations in five ways: one person in a social situation with broad context; one person in two similar situations with subtle differences and limited context; two people in a social context; three people in a social context; and two separate scenes of the same people in the same social context, but with subtle emotional differences.

The scenes and flexible stimulus items can be used in any way to best support your therapy goals, but here is a suggested sequence of presentation:

  • Show the picture scene to the group and ask students to take a moment to consider what is happening in the picture.
  • Present the Facial Expressions & Gestures stimulus items to focus attention on nonverbal clues and emotions present in the scene.
  • Ask students to provide a brief narrative to explain what they think is happening in the picture.
  • Read the suggested story in the What's Going On? box.
  • Present the Dialogue stimulus items to encourage students to give voice to the characters in the scene.
  • Present any of the remaining stimulus items on the card that address your therapy needs.  Note: The final item in the gray box will always challenge students to connect a past experience with an aspect of the targeted social situation.

After students have completed relevant stimulus items, you might encourage them to role-play the situation as it is presented or extend it to what they think might happen next.  However you choose to use Social Language Development Scenes Elementary for Group Therapy, we hope you'll find these situations and stimulus items important tools to continue enriching the social language skills of your students.