(Supplementary to Chapter 6, That’s What Friends Are For, in Autism Spectrum Disorders in the Mainstream Classroom: How to Reach and Teach Students With ASDs)
Teaching Social Thinking
→Picture This: In The Social Skills Picture Book, Jed Baker presents photographic representations of social scenarios handled well and others handled poorly. Using speech and thought bubbles along with captions, Baker allows students to see what positive social skills look like and how peers react differently to various social approaches. (2001) You can help your students sketch their own social scenarios by helping them draw stick representations of the people involved, adding speech and thought bubbles to demonstrate what happened and how it made everyone feel.
→Practice Modulation: A critical element in social skill development is to be able to modulate communications according to context. That means not telling bathroom jokes to the principal, not laughing when something bad has happened, not talking about Dora the Explorer with ten year old peers.
In Teaching Students with Language and Communication Disabilities, Kuder suggests a way to practice modulating different registers of communication. Let students choose topics of personal interest. Help them write a story (or a paragraph or a few sentences) on this topic in three different ways, each targeted to a different audience. This technique encourages students to consider their audience in terms of tone, vocabulary, content, prior knowledge, detail, and more. (2007.)
→Mood Matching: Create a chart that lists relatively neutral nouns (such as journey, dinner, museum) in one column, and feelings (such as disappointed, scared, excited) in the other. Play a game in which you match the nouns with the various feelings and have the students practice saying each word in the assigned mood.
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