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
Read on for an extract from Debbie Garvey’s new book for Early Years professionals
Nurturing Personal, Social and Emotional Development in Early Childhood by Debbie Garvey is a practical and direct guide that supports practitioners in nurturing personal, social and emotional development (PSED) in young children by demystifying brain development research.
Condensing a wealth of recent research and theory around PSED into practical guidance, it gives professionals the knowledge and understanding they need to critically evaluate their own practice and find the best course of action to support PSED in young children. From the perspective of neuroscience, it explores what can help or hinder development, considers why some children bite and why toddlers have tantrums, and questions how well-intentioned actions, such as reward systems or putting new foods on a plate for children to ‘just try’, may be misguided.
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” What Einstein was to atomic theory, astronomy, and math,
Siobhan Timmins is to Social Stories™ “
Carol Gray (founder and creator of Social Stories™)
Using the highly effective Social Stories™ model, Developing Resilience in Young People with Autism using Social Stories™ is full of ideas for coping with negative experiences and helping young people with autism, who are particularly susceptible to setbacks. In the following extract Siobhan Timmins introduces how to build positive thinking and then presents two Social Stories™ from her book called
Beginning to think in a positive way and Learning to think in a positive way.
Click the link below to read the extract
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Starting a conversation and then maintaining one can be difficult for teenagers and young adults on the autism spectrum. In the following blog Paul Jordan, the author of How to start, carry on and end conversations: Scripts for social situations for people on the autism spectrum offers up advice on making sense of everyday social situations and gives us 5 top tips on maintaining a good conversation with someone.
- Maintain eye contact with the other person
This is extremely important for successful conversations, especially with neurotypicals (people without autism). This is arguably because, their brains which are wired conventionally, tell them that you are giving them your attention when you are looking at them. Continue reading
That is according to Nathalie Slosse, author of Big Tree is Sick, who tells the story of how the book came to be, as well as laying out her case for complete honesty as the best way to engage with children when helping them to understand serious illness.
In surveys on what values we consider important, honesty is always highly rated, usually even as the most important quality. However, when it comes to honestly confiding something serious to our children, we often want to spare them the grief that the harsh truth can bring. It is a dilemma I struggled with when I was treated for breast cancer, and it’s why I want to provide a resource to others in the same situation today.
Sometimes people ask me “Did breast cancer change your way of life?” I wish I could reply that this was not the case; it’s true that prior to my diagnosis I followed my heart when it came to important life choices. But if I’m honest, I must admit that without the painful episode in 2007, I would not be doing what I do now. The battle I had with breast cancer as a mum of a two year old boy helped me discover that I can help people find happiness in difficult circumstances. In 2010 I founded the association Talismanneke to further explore that path.
But let’s start at the beginning.
Research shows that for many schools it is hard to keep up with the high speed train that is a student’s online life. New apps and high risk behaviours emerge at the same time that new Ofsted inspection requirements are outlined. Only 45% of secondary pupils strongly agree that their teachers know enough about online safety, whilst Ofsted says that training for teachers is inconsistent. So how do you address the fastest evolving aspect of a young person’s education today? Continue reading
It’s Anti Bullying Week, so we thought we’d share this extract from Alison Knowles’ new children’s book Ollie and the Golden Stripe. In this story, Ollie learns the importance of empathy when his classmate Adam is bullied during a game of football. Empathy transports Ollie into Adam’s shoes and teaches him not to laugh at Adam, but to understand and share his feelings.
Click here to download the extract
Alison is also the author of Ollie and His Superpowers. The books are designed for parents and schools to help children be the best version of themselves.
This Sensitivity Test has been provided by Ilse Sand, author of Highly Sensitive People and The Emotional Compass. Test yourself to see how sensitive you are.
This is a shortened version of the test; the complete test can be found in the book “Highly Sensitive People in an Insensitive World: How to Create a Happy Life“.
The Sensitivity Test
Grade each statement from 0 to 4 as below. There are five different ways to answer each statement.
0 = This does not describe me at all
1 = This describes me a little
2 = This describes me to some extent
3 = This describes me fairly well
4 = This describes me perfectly
Dawn Ralph and Jacqui Rochester, co-authors of Building Language Using LEGO® Bricks, discuss the use of LEGO® as a powerful and fun intervention tool for helping children and adults with severe speech, language and communication disorders, often related to autism and other special educational needs.
This intervention has been used with a range of children and adults. As most of our clinical experience has been with children we have referred to participants in this article as ‘the child’ or ‘children’. However, we have trained professionals who have used this approach with adults.
Building Language using LEGO® Bricks– a practical guide evolved from our attempts to implement LEGO-Based Therapy (LeGoff et al 2014) with children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). We soon discovered that we needed to make significant adaptions to allow this client group to access it successfully. Dr LeGoff, in his original research, invited extensions of his approach. We decided to take up the challenge. Continue reading
In this extract, Dawn Ralph and Jacqui Rochester discuss why Building Language Using LEGO® Bricks is a flexible and powerful intervention tool for aiding children with severe speech, language and communication disorders, often related to autism and other special educational needs.
This practical manual equips you for setting up and adapting your own successful sessions and downloadable resources, enabling you to chart progress in the following key areas:
– The use of receptive and expressive language
– The use and understanding of challenging concepts
– Joint attention
– Social communication
The book is creative, practical and thought-provoking and will be invaluable to Speech and Language Therapists, parents and other professionals wishing to support children with a wide range of language and communication problems.
Click here to download the extract