Social Skill Resources for Special Education

Supporting Social Success for Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities can exhibit a whole range of social deficits, from merely being awkward in new situations to having difficulty making requests, greeting friends, even appropriate behavior in public places. 

Resources to support these students need to address the following challenges.

  1. Understanding of Social Norms, often called the Hidden Curriculum.
  2. Describe appropriate social behavior, perhaps using "Cool" and "Not Cool" as prompts. 
  3. Modeling of appropriate social skills.
  4. Practice for social skills

I have created a number of resources that can lead you on your way, as you create effective curriculum for students in your setting, whether for students with behavioral and emotional difficulties or students with autism spectrum disorders.

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Teaching Social Skills

Social Skills build personal relationships. Safe Kids Kansas

This article provides an overview of Social Skills in a way to help teachers choose and build curriculum.  Like any part of a special education program, a social skills curriculum needs to build on students' strengths and address their needs.

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Proxemics - Understanding Personal Space

Using personal space. Getty/Creative RF

 Understanding personal space if often difficult for children with disabilities, especially children with autism specanyone close.  trum disorders.  Students often seek more sensory input from other people and enter their personal space, or they are uncomfortable with

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Teaching Personal Space to Children with Disabilities

Lots of practice is important. Getty/John Merton

This article provides a "social narrative" you can adapt for your students to help them understand appropriate use of personal space.  It describes personal space as a "Magic Bubble," to give students a visual metaphor that will help them understand personal space.  The narrative also describes the occasions when it is appropriate to enter personal space, as well as a personas

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Social Stories or Social Narratives

This page describes Juan's state of mind. Websterlearning

Social narratives, based on Social Stories  from Carol Gray, use pictures and stories to help students acquire social skills.   Using pictures of the students themselves makes the narratives far more attractive, and will really engage students, even those with poor language or communication skills.

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A Social Narrative - Reinforcing Social and Life Skills

Alex sets the table. Websterlearning

Here I lay out how to create a social narrative that teaches a functional skill--in this case setting the table.  My model was a teen with an autism spectrum disorder, and he was very pleased to help teach others a technique that helped him be successful in his graphic arts program, where he ran the copy center.

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The Sandlot - Making Friends, a Social Skills Lesson

The "gang" from the move "The Sandlot". Twentieth Century Fox

Popular media can offer opportunities to teach social skills, as well as evaluate the impact of social behaviors on relationships.  Students who have difficulty with social skills can learn from models in movies when they have an opportunity to evaluate the models' behaviors.

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Social Skills Lesson on Friends - Build a Friend

A free printable helps students understand friendship. Websterlearning

 Some students with disabilities are very lonely, and want very much to have typical peers to interact with.  We call them, of course, a friend.  Students with disabilities often don't understand the importance of reciprocity for successful peer relationships.  By focusing on the qualities a friend has, you can start helping students shape their own behavior appropriately.

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"Improve Your Social" - A Resource for Young Adults

Dan, the founder of improve your social skills, on an Elephant. Improveyoursocialskills

Improve Your Social Skills is an online resource to help individuals with autism improve their social skills, including videos to model the skills that they need to acquire.  Started by a young man with autism, it is truly a great resource.

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Games to Support Social Skill Goals

A board game for Christmas that supports "counting on" as an addition strategy. Websterlearning

Games that support math or reading skills offer a double whammy, since they support learning to take turns, to wait for their peers, and to accept disappointment in defeat.   This article give you ideas to create games that will give your students that opportunity.

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Building Social Relationships - a Review

This social skills curriculum is one of just a few to be found on the market.  See if this particular resource is the right resource for you.

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Social Skills Lesson Plan - Initiating Contact

Making Friends. Getty Images/Brand New Images

Young adults with autism have difficulty making friends and maintaining relationships.  But they really want to.  Helping them understand how to initiate and maintain conversations is vital to success.