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How can I help my student develop social communication skills?

We often get asked for strategies that help teach appropriate social communication skills to students, especially for neurodivergent students. A few tips:


Student with social communication challenges tend to learn best when they are given explicit instructions and a manageable social context to practice appropriate language and actions. We recommend that students are first provided with clear and concrete social rules (e.g., stay one arm’s length from other person; follow the speaker’s conversation lead/interest). Teaching simple social “scripts” is a great way to model these rules.

Social scripts can be written in response to the student’s personal needs, for a confusing situation or for an upcoming event. Once a script has been created, try to role-play how to initiate a conversation and how to predict and react to what another person will say. These sessions can also be recorded and used to review the socially appropriate and inappropriate behaviors displayed by the students to show them their areas of strength and the areas in which they need improvement.

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