Today, we want to talk a little bit about how we’re addressing social and pragmatic skills during this pandemic.
Social Interaction Currently
First of all, it’s important for us to talk to our kids about how the rules are a little bit different right now. Typically, it would be unexpected for us to talk to someone who was six feet away. But of course, right now that’s the expectation, and we might instead make someone uncomfortable if we’re too close to them. In our clinic sessions and in our teletherapy sessions we are working to help our kids, teenagers, and young adults understand how the rules are different now.
Alternatives To Social Skills Groups
But you might wonder, how can we work on social or pragmatic skills with social distancing? Typically we do a lot of pairing kids together in groups, we run social skills groups, and we do a lot of social peer groups in our clinic. Now, with the pandemic, we have to do things a little bit differently. Depending on the child, their social skills, and your comfort level, we can pair your child up with a peer during therapy, maybe with an activity that lets them still be physically distanced from each other. But we can also work on these skills in teletherapy, or through videos, worksheets, and games in the clinic.
Here are some of the resources we use and want you to know about:
The first is Everyday Speech Social Skills (everydayspeech.com). This is a subscription-based curriculum that we use in a lot of our sessions. They have a lot of modeling videos and really fun games for kids, including Bingo, and a Jeopardy-style game. They even have some games that look almost like a video game! These games all help them to think about others, and what another person might be thinking. It helps with perspective-taking, working in groups, whole-body listening, etc. These are many of the skills that we cover in therapy. We were already using this program before the pandemic. In teletherapy, we can just share our screen with your child and use the program that way.
Also, during this pandemic, Everyday Speech is offering free parent subscriptions through Labor Day! We can give you an access code that you can use to access these resources at home. This is a fantastic resource! If you’re interested in trying this out, please let your child’s clinician know.
The second resource we want to share with you is a curriculum called Social Thinking. This is another curriculum we use a great deal, and we’ve done some videos about it. Social Thinking is a methodology that teaches kids to think about situations broadly. So rather than teaching rote social skills that they have to memorize and that don’t apply to every situation, we teach kids to think about social situations from a higher level. We teach them to read the room, see what’s going on around them, and then make a decision about what’s expected based on other people’s thoughts and behaviors.
Social Thinking (socialthinking.com) has a lot of free resources on its website right now too. They have articles for parents and clinicians, as well as videos about teaching social thinking at home, and the different terminology they use. They have many of their books and “think sheets” online through videos. We are using those for teletherapy, but you could also reinforce these concepts at home with your child.
Your Next Step
We hope these free resources will be helpful for you during this time of uncertainty. If you have any questions please ask your child’s clinician. If your child is not yet in therapy, please give us a call so that we can set up an evaluation!