Social skills are not only the job of the SLP or social worker. Sorry, my friend, but you aren’t off the hook. Most of our learners struggle with social skills. Social skills are very important. However, we can’t just take a break from math or literacy to work just on social skills. Math and literacy are important too! So how do we fit this all in one busy school day? It’s a challenge. My recommendation is to incorporate social skills into every activity you do. Social skills are that important. Incorporating these targets into your academic instruction will not only help these skills generalize but will also make sure you fitting in as much learning as you can!
Literacy may the most natural subject to incorporate our social skills goals. You can working on asking/answering questions, commenting about a story or picture, and identifying the social targets within characters. Group work is a must here. Get students talking to each other as much as possible! I love anything routine based here. Pick one activity that you do every day. This way you won’t forget and your students will have consistent practice. Things like daily questions, word of the day, joke of the day, or daily interview are perfect for a quick social skills review.
Math can be a little less obvious on how to incorporate social skills but it is still doable! I Have, Who Has? is one of my favorite games and works so well with math concepts. I love using this game for working on adding coins, reading the clock, and identifying measurement tools. You can make math interactive by bringing in manipulatives and have students take turns or work in small groups. When working on number order or more/less, put post-its on students with different numbers and have them work together to get in the correct order. There are so many great social skills incorporate into that activity. It’s one of my favs!
Even if your learner is working on basic skills, you can still incorporate social skills. Keep materials with you so your student needs to request them. Bring a big PECS book with food pictures to lunch so your student can ask the lunch lady for the item he wants. Practice matching and naming pictures of teachers and classmates! There are lots of options here!
A new holiday is the perfect way to sneak in some social skills instruction! Most kids are instantly engaged and excited by anything holiday themed so sometimes that makes social skill practice more enticing. We love holiday bingos and seasonal cooking for each holiday!