Two social language interventions you can implement today!
Social communication skills are some of the most valuable skills we can teach our students. Children with verbal and nonverbal learning disabilities often struggle with pragmatic skills. This is because social skills rely upon good communication skills!
Pragmatic language impairment occurs in about 7.5% of children and affects more boys than girls (Ketelaars, Cuperus, van Daal, Jansonius, & Verhoeven, 2009).
Two Actionable Social Skills Therapy Ideas to Implement Today
If you’re not familiar with social stories, I highly recommend carolgraysocialstories.com – Carol Gray is the SLP who developed social stories. Her website contains all the information you need to understand what social stories are and how to use them.
There is an excellent PDF that explains what social stories are and reviews how to write and use them correctly. Some examples: at least 50% of the text should be praising the audience, it should be written in the first person, and caregivers should be involved in the creation. I reference it frequently! Read more here and bookmark this PDF: It’s NOT a social story if…
If you are using or creating a lot of social stories, I highly recommend it. It is a paid app, but it contains 20 stories and has the option to create your own stories, share, receive, or print them.
Comic Strip Conversations
These are also developed by Carol Gray. Comic Strip Conversations are your own stick figure drawings in a comic strip format. The drawings illustrate what people are saying, feeling, or thinking through the use of different colors, thought bubbles, and word bubbles.
For example, overlapping speech bubbles depict an interruption. Green text represents happy language, red represents anger, and orange is for questions.
The process of creating the comic strip slows the conversation down and allows more time for an individual to understand the information being exchanged. By seeing the different elements of a conversation presented visually, some of the more abstract aspects of social communication (such as recognizing the feelings of others) are made more ‘concrete’ and easier to understand.
Use Comic Strip Conversations for conflict resolution, problem-solving, communicating feelings and perspectives, and reflecting on something that happened.
If you are interested in diving in, Carol Gray has a book on this method: Comic Strip Conversations
You can use just paper/pencils to make comic strip conversations or you can use an app.
APP: Strip Designer
Take a photo and then add speech bubbles and thought bubbles. You can also draw a picture and add the bubbles. A conversation can be shown using one photo, or there are several designs for creating a story strip.
More Social Language Therapy Ideas
Another engaging way to work on social language skills is the use of blank comics. Use for inferences, emotions, forming sentences, and cause/effect. I have a Pinterest board of blank comics I’ve pinned and collected over the years. I put up the board in sessions, and we discuss what we think is happening or infer what someone is saying. You can also print them out and fill in the bubbles.
In addition, I have another Pinterest board for short videos. I use these to target many social language skills. We watch the short video, and I pause it to ask questions: “What is she thinking?” “What do you think will happen next?” “What is he feeling? Why?” to make inferences, problem solve, make predictions, read emotions, and more.
Free Social Language Resource Lists
Discover ideas to plan and execute social skills therapy! Includes 6 pages of information and resources:
- types of social skills
- developmental stages
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