Focus on Five: Best Products to Use for {Social/Emotional} Learning! - The Autism Helper

Focus on Five: Best Products to Use for {Social/Emotional} Learning!

Categories: Resources | Social Skills

I know as special educators, we are constantly teaching social/emotional skills throughout the day-during lunch, transitions, recess and as part of students’ individual instructional programs. This past year, my school required each classroom to have a designated Social/Emotional (SEL) lesson each day. While there was a prescribed curriculum for general education students, I needed to put together resources for a formal SEL time for my students. Here are five products from TAH I used in my classroom this past school year for SEL…

1. Visual Social Story Packet for Children with Autism

This one-page social stories are an amazing resource for any low-incidence classroom! I have several sets, laminated and attached to my cabinets with Velcro for easy access! These stories include visuals (of course) and explicitly describes what steps or scrips students need in order to demonstrate the appropriate behavior for specific, everyday situations. During SEL, I focus on one of the stories. I read it aloud and model with one of my paraprofessionals. Depending on the skill, I will engage the students by asking questions or providing practice opportunities. Having a designated SEL time is a great way to make sure that you go over social stories. There are 11 different sets, and each set is between $4-$5.

Social Stories packets are available in the following topics: BehaviorFriendship, Personal Space, Communication (Set 1 & Set 2), School Behaviors (Set 1 & Set 2), Community (Set 1 & Set 2), Special Events & Emergencies, and Hygiene. 


2. Conversation Starters for Special Education

This product was a big hit in my classroom last year! I used this for my SEL time almost daily and it was accessible for all students, including my students with visual impairments. The Conversation Starters set comes with 48 question cards and each card features 5 questions about one topic. It is a great way to teach students to stay on topic and allows students to practice answering questions on their communication devices. I also liked demonstrating the conversation prompts with paraprofessionals so that students would have an appropriate model.

3. Complimenting and Greeting Visuals for Students who are Nonverbal 

Being able to initiate appropriate social interactions is one of the most significant goals for our students. The Complimenting and Greeting Visuals allow students who are non-verbal to engage during a morning meeting or SEL learning time with their peers! This set is editable so that you can include pictures of their peers. I have used this and my non-verbal students really enjoy using the visuals to be able to interact with their peers on a daily basis.

4. Personal Information Mega Pack {Level 2}

While teaching personal information can be more of an individual activity, TAH’s Personal Information Mega Packs can also be used in small or whole group instruction! I have used the Personal Information Basics book (pictured above and included in Level 2) during whole group SEL time, as well as the question cards included in this set. A whole group or small group setting is perfect for teaching personal information that is applicable to all students (school name, room number, teacher name) and it’s a great way of making sure that there is a designated time of the day to learn this essential and functional skill! The Personal Information Mega Pack is also available in Level 1 and Level 3.

5. Autism Awareness Unit

The Autism Awareness Unit is a must-have resource for any cluster teacher in a general education building! It is so important to educate general education students (and staff) about working with students with special needs that is respectful and informative.   This unit includes lesson and book recommendations, fact sheets, question worksheets, an art activity, discussion prompts and an interactive bulletin board (pictured below). While April is autism awareness month, this resource can (and should) be used all year long! I have used the fact sheets and question worksheets in the general education classrooms and the general education students were able to learn the facts and ask any questions that they might have.  As special educators, we are ambassadors to inclusion, and the Autism Awareness Unit has all the resources you need in one place!

I hope you are inspired to use TAH’s products for your SEL time! Share other products you use in your classroom for SEL!


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