Social Skills: Just a Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down! by Shawn Amador

Shawn Amador, LCSW, is a school social worker who runs an after school comedy troupe, and is a part time therapist. Her new book, Teaching Social Skills Through Sketch Comedy and Improv Games, publishes this month.

 

Kids and teens with social cognitive deficits have difficulty seeing outside of themselves, which contributes back to having more social difficulty.  Due to their struggles, social skills training could possibly be a trigger or at the least, tap into insecurities.  We need to find ways to teach social skills in real time while interacting, thus also increasing ‘feel good’ brain chemicals which can increase positive feelings about interactions.

When adding theatre, improv skills, play-writing and sketch comedy to social skills training, it’s like adding spoonful of sugar to help the social skills go down!  Shawn Amador, LCSW, has created a program that adds all of these activities together, which makes “Social Theatre”™.  Participants in Shawn’s Social Theatre group therapy, say that it does not feel like therapy.  In fact, we make fun of ourselves through brainstorming socially awkward moments which we make into plays and correct with a more effective social skill  in the next scene.

In Teaching Social Skills through Sketch Comedy and Improv Games, there are activities that are adaptable to many social and intellectual levels from academically gifted, typical, to mild and moderate cognitive abilities.   Moreover, social skills sketch comedy scripts from the book can be utilized in teaching lessons or for performance.

If you would like to try some games that teach social skills, here are some popular games:

 

  • “Red Light Green Light” for Self Control
  • “Mother May I” for cognitive flexibility
  • “Yes, and” improv game for collaborative idea building
  • “Feelings Charades” for feelings recognition and expression
  • Acting out a familiar story, switching roles and acting it out again for perspectives

Winston Wallaby Can’t Stop Bouncing

Winston Wallaby Can’t Stop Bouncing is a fun, illustrated storybook that will help children aged 5-10 with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and/ or Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC/ASD) to recognise their sensory needs and to develop tools to support them. To learn more about the book, who better to ask than its authors, K.I. Al-Ghani and Joy Beaney? Chatting to them, we learned a lot about hyperactivity in children, what to look out for and what can help. There’s even a downloadable activity sheet for teachers. Read on to find out more.adhd

What motivated you to write Winston Wallaby Can’t Stop Bouncing and who is the book for?

Joy and I have worked together in special education for many years. We noticed that there were not many books available that could explain hyper-activity to children in a story format.  We decided to collaborate on this project using Joy’s expertise in Sensory Processing Difficulties, my skills as a story teller and Haitham’s ability to bring it all to life, through his illustrations.
We think the book has something for everyone: It is a story all children can enjoy. A story in which, we hope, children with hyperactivity will be able see themselves in Winston.  They will learn that it is not their fault and instead of being the problem, they could learn to be part of the solution. Parents and educators will have tools and strategies they can use that can help the child to manage their hyperactivity and, if successful, perhaps avoid the need for medication.

Continue reading

Tips to help children with ADHD develop self-control, concentration and problem-solving skills

ADHD supportSusan Young, author of The STAR Program, talks about the innovative methods she has developed to help children with ADHD  develop their self-control, concentration and problem-solving skills.

I started working with young people with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) over 20 years ago. The clinical picture has changed over these years due to research, which has considerably advanced our scientific knowledge and understanding about the aetiology, presentation, treatment and prognosis of ADHD. ADHD is now recognised to be a lifespan condition yet, despite international guidelines on the assessment, treatment and management of ADHD, too many young people reach adulthood with undiagnosed ADHD. As a psychologist, I am less concerned with a “clinical” diagnosis than the functional problems associated with inattention and the immediate or longer-term effects on a child’s development and life satisfaction. As a mother I know how worrying this can be and, as a clinician, I know that steps can be taken to help and support a child in overcoming these difficulties. I know how important it is for everyone to work together to help children effect change in their lives, so I wanted to develop an intervention that may involve teachers, parents/carers and the children themselves. We do not often intervene directly with children and treatments: we usually aim to make change by teaching those who interact with them to change the environment around them in some way. I think this underestimates our children’s abilities and misses an important opportunity. Why can we teach children academic skills but not life skills? I wrote the STAR Intervention to provide these life skills to children, their parents/carers and, hopefully, others involved in their care. Continue reading

Take a look at our new Pastoral Care and Special Educational Needs catalogue

Our education resources offer valuable guidance on important school issues such as mental health, special educational needs, autism, bullying and peer pressure, safeguarding, restorative justice, sex education, trauma and attachment, gender diversity and more.

If you would like to request a free print copy of the catalogue, please email hello@JKP.com.

If you would like to find out more about our Education books and receive the latest news and offers on them, why not join our mailing list? We can send information by email or post as you prefer. You can unsubscribe at any time. You may also be interested in liking our Special Educational, PSHE and Early Years Resources Facebook page.

Bo Hejlskov Elven on applying the low arousal approach to parenting for his new book Sulky, Rowdy Rude?

Bo Hejlskov Elven is a parent and one of Europe’s leading clinical psychologists specialising in challenging behaviour. In this new blog for JKP he offers insights into how the low arousal approach informs his new book (written in collaboration with Tina Wiman) on parental strategies for managing the most challenging behaviour of any child, Sulky, Rowdy, Rude?: Why kids really act out and what to do about it.

 

The psychologist Douglas MacGregor proposed a theory of motivation in the sixties. He argued that we can view humans in two different ways: Either we think that people are lazy and need to be controlled and motivated by rewards and punishment, or we think that people do their best if we create the right environment for them to develop autonomy. His theory was on management, and he and later psychologists have shown that the second view increases productivity. In our book Sulky, Rowdy, Rude? we adapt that way of thinking to parenting. This is in no way controversial in Scandinavia, where we live, but may be a less common view in other parts of the world. Continue reading

Kids and the computer screen – where do we draw the line?

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“I’m worried about my child’s technology use. Why does my son scream when I try to get him off the computer? Is my daughter honest about her Internet activities? Just how much screen time is too much? What effect is all of this technology having on my child’s learning and behavior?” Pg. 11, Digital Kids: How to Balance Screen Time and Why It Matters by Martin Kutscher

 

The average 8 year old child spends nearly 10 hours a day on digital media. This makes digital consumption second only to sleep as their leading activity. It’s not news to us that kids are using their digital devices all day, every day. But does this really matter? Many children receive digital devices as gifts but what are the risks of overusing them. Also what can parents do to combat this?

Digital Kids is the first book of its kind to lay out the facts and figures surrounding excessive internet use. Drawing on cutting edge research and expert scientific opinion, Martin Kutscher pinpoints exactly what effect digital addiction is having on our children’s brains and development – and the reasons why we should be worried about it.

Outlining the full range of neurological, psychological and physical implications, from stunted cognitive development and shortening attention spans, to depression, aggression and obesity, Digital Kids highlights the real dangers of too much screen time for the iPad generation.

This book is an eye-opening journey through the ins and outs of cyberspace, offering practical strategies on how to maintain a healthy screen-life balance. The internet, the smartphone and the digital TV are all here to stay, but it’s up to us where we draw the line.

 

Digital Kids: How to Balance Screen Time and Why It Matters by Martin Kutscher is now available in paperback from Jessica Kingsley Publishers

‘It’s not fair mum! You’ve bought more Christmas presents for him than me!’

Christmas presents SpLDVeronica Bidwell, author of The Parents’ Guide to Specific Learning Difficulties, discusses the importance of treating your children equally during Christmas. Admitting that children with specific learning difficulties tend to receive more attention than their siblings from their parents throughout the year, she reflects that Christmas should be used as a time to bridge rather than expose these gaps.

As we come up to Christmas I find myself thinking about ‘fairness’.  Am I being fair in the way I plan presents for children and grandchildren?  Is fairness to do with value, with what they want or with what they need at this particular time?  Is a scooter equal to a pair of pyjamas or a boxed set of CS Lewis’s Narnia books?

Children develop a keen sense of fairness and justice at quite an early age.  I think most of us can remember the indignation and hurt if things within the family didn’t seem fair.  Why did my little sister always seem to get away with things for which I would be told off?

There are things children want and there are things children need. All of them need love, time and attention from the important adults in their lives.  They need support, guidance and discipline.  They may need help with homework, in preparing for exams, in mastering a new skill.  Help may entail time, attention and resources. Continue reading

New autism books catalogue for winter 2016/17

You can now browse through the 2016/2017 new and bestselling books catalogue for autism.

Featuring exciting new titles arriving in 2017 from Luke Jackson, Kathy Hoopmann, Bo Hejlskov Elven, Wenn Lawson the new JKP autism catalogue also includes some of the bestselling titles of recent years from authors such as Tony Attwood, Carol Gray, Rudy Simone, Jennifer Cook O’Toole and many more. There are new books on Social StoriesTM , Lego-Based therapy, mental health, sexuality, women and girls, anxiety and related conditions for all ages.

If you see anything in the catalogue that interests you please visit www.jkp.com for additional information.

Ten teacher tips to keep a student with ADHD on track in class

ADHDDiana Hudson, author of Specific Learning Difficulties – What Teachers Need to Know, looks at the common challenges that children with ADHD may present in the classroom, and suggests ways that teachers can help them to stay focused and get the most out of their lessons. 

Sensitive teachers can make a huge difference to the happiness, confidence and academic success of children who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Continue reading

Parents can play a vital role in supporting their child with dyslexia – Veronica Bidwell

Bidwell_Parents-Guide-t_978-1-78592-040-0_colourjpg-printIn this chapter from The Parents’ Guide to Specific Learning Difficulties, Veronica Bidwell looks at the important role parents can play in supporting the learning of their child with dyslexia. Looking at the kind of difficulties typically experienced at different ages and stages of development, she provides some very reassuring and useful advice.

Click here to download the extract

Packed full of advice and practical strategies for parents and educators, her book is a one-stop-shop for supporting children with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs), ranging from poor working memory, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, through to ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Auditory Processing Disorder (APD), Specific Language Impairment and Visual Processing Difficulty. Veronica is an Educational Psychologist with expert knowledge of Specific Learning Difficulties.  She has been involved in education for over 30 years working with mainstream and special schools.  She has run a leading independent Educational Psychology Service and has assessed many hundreds of pupils and provided advice and support to pupils, parents and teachers. Click here to find out more about her book.