Guest Blog from the Dabbling Speechie

First I want to say my prayers and thoughts are with those families in OK after the tornados.  While the stories of teachers protecting their students during the tornado (and in Newtown) are inspiring and just show what I have always known about teachers–that they are selfless people who always put the kids first–my wish for the future is that we have less opportunity to test that theory.  

Note:  I will be out at a conference beach trip on Marco Island for the Florida Speech and Hearing Association conference.  I’m presenting on data collection and evidence-based communication strategies, so expect some posts about that when I get back after Memorial Day.  In my absence, I happy to have the Dabbling Speechie guest blogging today.  She is going to give some great information about speech therapists and how the collaboration between SLPs and teachers is so critical for our guys with ASD.  I’m off to collaborate with a margarita with my friend the SLP….

 Thanks Christine for having me guest post on your blog today! I wanted to share my experience targeting social skills as a Speech Pathologist in the school setting. I have a background in doing in home ABA, working with birth to 3 year olds in a private practice and having experience in the school setting working with K-12th grade, so I have dabbled in working with ALL ages of students and have experience with many different communication disorders. My passion is working with students on the autism spectrum particularly with students who have Asperger’s or high functioning Autism. Traditionally, I have targeted social skills in a small group in my little speech room and was wanting to work on generalizing the skills I have been teaching my students.

So, last year I began going into my 4th-6th grade SDC classroom 30 minutes a week to do a social skills lesson. Each week I planned an activity and tried to tailor it around the needs of my students. The teacher and I would often collaborate via email or in the hallway as we would pass each other throughout the day. In the beginning, I spent 3-4 sessions reviewing and teaching social skill vocabulary such as expected vs. unexpected behaviors, good thought vs. not so good thought, how we make an impression, whole body listening and keeping our brain in the group. This gave my SDC teacher time to watch me teach and use the vocabulary. It also allowed her to assess how she could infuse my lessons and social vocabulary into her curriculum.

2013-05-01 17.06.23

My SDC teacher DOES NOT write in social development time into her academic schedule because she uses the vocabulary concepts ALL DAY long during classroom instruction by using the “social vocabulary” to provide feedback when students are making a “good” impression, displaying an unexpected behavior (i.e. shouting out in class, knocking over chairs, refusing to do work, etc) or when their brain isn’t in the group. Since I have been pushing in her classroom, the students are now using the vocabulary with each other and beginning to identify when their behavior, words, and nonverbal cues are expected or unexpected for a social situation. The success with my SDC student’s social skills is largely due to using a TEAM APPROACH and the teacher using these terms throughout the day, which means that the student’s are getting DAILY practice with their social interactions as opposed to once or twice a week. More opportunities means faster progress and ability to generalize into more settings and across different people. This approach does not require additional planning either just learning the vocabulary and using it!

Most of my resources and vocabulary concepts come from Michelle Garcia Winner who has broken down the layers of social communication, so that it is easier to teach these skills to students who have a hard time grasping the big picture of social thinking! I would recommend attending one of her conferences and/or purchasing her resources Thinking About YOU, Thinking About ME, 2nd Edition and Think Social! A Social Thinking Curriculum for School-Aged Students to help you with assessment, writing goals and conducting therapy. I have found that Jill Kuzma’s blog to be very helpful as well. I also want to share some fabulous resources I have been using from my fellow SPEECHIES that I grabbed off of TPT.

My Help! I Need Social Skills pack has lessons to work on perspective taking, tone of voice, identifying expected vs. unexpected behaviors, identifying what is missing from a social situation, and explaining the impression people are making.


Speech Room News blog by Jenna Rayburn has lots of great social skill packs. The pack I have used the most is her In Your Shoes feelings, problem solving and inferencing pack. It is based on teaching students that expression “thinking in someone else’s shoes”. You can change the activity to have students answer the questions the way a teacher might think, a 3 year old or a mother. The possibilities are endless.

in your shoes

The Super Social Skills pack was made by If I Only Had Super Powers blogger. It is a great pack filled with super hero posters, social stories, and game activities to work on expected vs. unexpected behaviors, emotions, asking questions in a conversation, thinking about others, problem solving and how to be responsible.

super skills

The Speech Bubble has created a very cute Social Skills Circus pack that works on perspective taking, conversation starters , problem solving, and working on how to keep a conversation going.


Speech2U has a great product that works on the Nonverbal Social Pragmatic skills such as tone of voice, personal space, and body language. Grab her Zombie Themed Social Skills Pack to use in the classroom!


Hope this was helpful! Remember that your Speech Therapist is a great resource for how to implement all sorts of skills throughout the classroom day!! Visit my blog, facebook, TPT, and Pinterest for more ideas and resources.

Share it: