The majority of my students have goals for social skills. Practicing those skills in a natural setting is important. Here are just a few ideas for the summer that my awesome speech teacher gave me...
- Encourage a journal, diary, or scrapbook of the summer or a vacation. This is great for summarizing, because no one wants to spend the effort to record every detail! For a student who doesn’t like to write, they can provide captions for summer photos.
- The scrapbook idea can be fun and silly, too, with a regular spiral notebook. The student can cut out pictures from magazines and make up captions, either individual snapshots or an entire story. If your child tends to be highly literal (“I don’t know why she is sad because I don’t know her.”), encourage them to guess, because there is no wrong answer. If your child is highly imaginative, encourage them to make up a story and stay with the context of the picture, rather than turning the story to be about their own interests (volcanoes, snakes, Power Rangers, etc.).
- Watch a movie your student has seen, so they don’t have to focus on following the plot. Help them notice the emotional reactions—pause the movie and explain it if they don’t get it! You can ask: “How did he/she feel?" "How do you know he/she was happy/angry/etc.?” “Why was she angry/sad/whatever?” or “Why did he say that?”. These tend to be really difficult, so help your student work through them.
Social thinking goes into everyday life, and it makes life more interesting. These activities will work best and be most enjoyable when you remember that the point is to relate to others and understand what’s going on around us.