Friday, October 9, 2015

Social Thinking in an Autism Classroom

Social skills are so very important to teach to any child. They need to know manners when they are out in public for example. I am sure we all know a few people who could be taught them again. I am a firm believer that it is best to teach our students life skills and social skills as much as we can in a natural environment. This doesn't always happen and we have to create those learning opportunities for our students.

I was given the opportunity to look at some products from Social Thinking. If you have never heard of them or their website you are in for a big surprise. They have all sorts of social skills books, lessons, and games for all age ranges. I like that they offer multiple levels for different grades, ages, and scenarios that can happen in life. These materials are really versatile and aren't too babyish for older students. For example this picture below explains how all of our brains work differently!

Like I said, I love this because with teaching middle school it is hard to find materials that are appropriate for my students' ages that also works at a level that they can understand. My students range in academic abilities from Pre-K to 4th grade. That's a wide range but, I also don't want to treat 14 year olds like they are in pre-k so that's one of the reasons that these products are great!

I was able to trial the Incredible Flexible You 5 Storybooks.

I was really impressed to find that the topics were so relatable to my students although they were older. We just adapted some of the scenarios to make them more mature! These five storybooks teach: Thinking Thoughts and Feeling Feelings, the Group Plan, Thinking with Your Eyes, Body in the Group, and Whole Body Listening.

When we started the lessons I introduced each topic with the students. We talked about and created anchor charts or what to do and not to do with each topic as best as they could. Then we read the book and as we came up with more ideas to add to the chart we did! Then when we finished reading we even had the adults in the room act out some scenarios that went with the book and this was a riot for the kids. They thought it was so funny to watch the teacher and paras act like "kids".

I would definitely recommend these books for classrooms and at the beginning of the year it was just what my students needed! There is no doubt in my mind that we will use these again a few more times this year as reviews and reminders as we need it!

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