Speech & Language Strategies for Parents and Educators: Social Communication

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by Sophia Guarracino, Speech-Language Pathologist

by Sophia Guarracino, Speech-Language Pathologist

One of the most important points to keep in mind when your child or a student in your class is receiving speech and language services is the importance of carrying over intervention in both the home and school settings. It is ideal for parents, therapists, and educators to work together and discuss the techniques that will be effective for each child. There are many strategies that can be incorporated into a child’s daily routine to boost their speech and language skills. In this post, we will focus on social communication.

Social Communication: These strategies are intended for students about whom you have concerns with social communication skills. Social and pragmatic skills can differ significantly from child to child.

  • Social stories are stories written to positively depict a situation in which a student has a difficult time,providing the student with appropriate ways to interact or respond. Please contact your speech therapist for assistance.
  • Visual schedules provide students who may need visual input to assist with transitions and expectations for the day. Your speech therapist will know more about making this schedule to suit the child’s needs.
  • Allow the student to work in a group with students who are accepting and supportive.
  • Search for opportunities that support appropriate social interactions, i.e., “Bobby, will you please go to Sue’s desk and ask her to bring me her Math folder.”
  • Avoid having activities where students ‘pick’ a partner. Assign partners instead to avoid feelings of rejection.
  • Board games and card games can be beneficial as they promote turn taking and sportsmanship. Be available to support sportsmanship and help to remember that playing the game is more important than winning the game.
  • Comment on positive models for targeted social skills when used by other students in the classroom (Jenny, I really like how you raised your hand instead of interrupting me when I was talking to the class.).
  • If you need to get a student’s attention say, “Are you thinking about me?” Reinforce this and say, “I know you are thinking about me because you are looking at me. I am thinking about you because I am looking at you.” Many of our students do not understand the perspectives of others and helping them think with their eyes will help improve this skill and their attention to the speaker..