Back To School

Why Do I Come To Speech?

Back To School Speech Therapy Activities

Student: “Mrs. Davault, why do I come to speech?”

Me: You are learning how to correctly say the /r/ sound.

Student: “Ok, why does HE come to speech” *student gestures to a boy in the group that has autism and perfect articulation*

 Me: (fumbling, as I quickly try and find age appropriate words to explain a pragmatic language disorder): Um, well, he is working on something different.

Have you ever had the “Why do I come to speech” conversation? Or worse, the “Why does he come to speech” conversation? It’s tricky, you know.

Some disorders are easy to explain, others, not so much.

As a newer clinician, I would frequently experience some version of that conversation. Group therapy makes this conversation even more difficult, because let’s be honest, you cannot be 100% confidential in group therapy. You just can’t. I had no idea how to explain why a student came to speech, without totally violating all confidentiality.

Finally, after what felt like the millionth time of having this conversation, I had a light bulb moment. I needed to be doing a better job of explaining to my students why they were coming to speech. I already talked about goals with my kids, but I wasn’t doing a very good job. We would quickly address it at the beginning of the year, and then I usually would forget about it until the start of the next school year.

What I wasn’t doing, was teaching my students why they had to come see me in the first place.

When you take the time to explain the different kinds of speech and language disorders to your students, you can help each student understand what they are working on when they come to speech, and then you can draw on this knowledge for the rest of the time they are in speech therapy. You can also use this knowledge to open a conversation about specific goals, and how you are going to go about mastering those goals.

Here is how I do this:

  1. I do an age appropriate activity with my students that explains why they come to speech. If they are younger, we do an interactive mini-book that gives a very broad summary of their disorder (although I do not use the word disorder with them). If they are older, I like to do a reading passage and comprehension question activity (that way we are still working on other things while we address this task #multitasking). Each student gets a reading passage or book, that is specific to their individual disorder.
  2. After they know why they are coming to speech, we talk about when they will come and we talk about their individual goals. You can use your discretion on this step to make it as confidential as you feel comfortable with. For example, you can choose to pull students aside individually and discuss goals one at a time while the other students in the group work on coloring the mini-book or answering the comprehension questions.
  3. We talk about how it might take a long time to master our goals, and that the more we practice, the faster we will master them.

The beauty of using this method, is that it opens the doors of communication. Students have an opportunity to have their questions answered and they understand the process. They also get to learn about many different kinds of speech disorders, and that everyone who comes to speech, has goals to work on.

What’s even more beautiful, is that we can use this method for any “first day of speech”. It could be the first day back from summer, the first day of a new IEP year, or the first day of a new insurance authorization period. It works all the time!  

If you are interested in using my method, please let me save you some time! I have already done all the hard work of creating, so you don’t have to. Click here so you can see the entire resource!

This resource contains the following first day of speech therapy activities:

  • Classroom posters you can hang in your room to remind students why they come to speech. (see below)
  • Interactive mini books for younger students. There is one for each disorder (language, articulation, fluency, pragmatic language, and voice).
  • Reading passages and comprehension questions for older students. There is one for each disorder (language, articulation, fluency, pragmatic language, and voice).

If you are not sure what this school year will bring and would like a digital version of this resource, I’ve got you covered! Just click here!

If you’re interested in upping your pragmatic language therapy/evaluation game then you have come to the right place. Let me share my tips and tricks with you so that you can approach this tricky area with confidence. Click here and we can start learning together–I even want to give you a free pragmatic language evaluation checklist so you can sample my work. If my style isn’t your cup of tea, you can unsubscribe at anytime 🙂

Autism · Uncategorized

How to Teach Conversation Skills

Do you know how to teach conversation skills in speech therapy? You know conversation skills are imperative to lifelong success, but where do you even start? I am here to help! Here are the lesson plans I use when teaching my students conversation skills.

Maybe this conversation looks familiar:

Me: “Hi! Welcome to Speech, I am going to be your speech teacher.”

Student: *mumbles incoherent response while avoiding eye contact*

Me: When you come to speech, you are going to be working on goals that will teach you ways to be a better friend.

Student: “I don’t have any friends.”

Me: That’s ok!  We have a goal for learning how to make friends! We also have a goal for learning how to have a conversation.

Student: “Oh yeah, I don’t know how to do that either.”

If video is more your thing, go check out the video version of this blog post!

This is summarized version of an actual conversation I have had with one of my students. (We went into his goals a little bit more in depth, but you get the idea).

Conversation skills…what are they exactly? How do we teach them? More importantly, how do we help our students learn them?

As with all good lessons we start at the bottom of the ladder and scaffold our way up to the top. Our lesson plans for conversation skills in speech therapy are no different…but what is the bottom of the conversation ladder?

Step 1: Teaching the Vocabulary

Since many of my students struggle with language delays and disorders, I always want to make sure they have a nice, firm, grasp of the vocabulary they will need to know in order to be successful with the skill we will be practicing.

When teaching conversation skills, I like to focus on two main vocabulary words: conversation and topic.

What are conversations and topics

I explain to my students that a conversation is what you do when you talk to people and that the topic is what you are talking about. Then, we brain storm all the different topics we could talk about. We identify topics the student likes to talk about and we identify topics that other people might like to talk about. Common topics I like to review are family, friends, games, books, pets, chores, school, recess, etc. I especially want my students to understand that anything ANYONE talks about can be a topic.  Keep this list of topics to refer back to as your students learn more conversation skills.

Step 2: Smile and Look

Here is the point where our sweet students learn the first actionable steps to having a conversation: smiling and looking.

Remember, we are starting at the bottom of the ladder and climbing up, so I don’t even have my students worry about talking yet.

Smiling and looking is hard enough for many of them. I don’t expect them to make eye contact with everyone, but I do encourage them to try and look at the other person’s face. I explain that when we do this, it lets the other person know that we are friendly and that we want to talk to him or her.

After we have talked about this skill in the relative safety of the speech room, we walk around the school and practice smiling and looking at everyone we meet. It sounds easy enough, but it often makes my students squirm with discomfort. With each new person we see, I remind my student why this skill is important until the student can repeat it back to me. We try and practice smiling and looking each time we walk together around the building.

Step 3: Asking Questions

Asking a question is a natural way to start a conversation. Typically, we start a conversation by asking “How are you?”, so I teach my students this first. Unfortunately, a conversation cannot be maintained on this single question alone, and our little friends need to learn other strategies for developing questions.

 Having students initiate a question around a preferred topic, helps them ease into the conversation, but it is also important to explain that they need to ask questions about many different topics. This is where that list of topics from Step 1 comes in handy. Help your students generate different questions they could ask someone about each topic on the list. I also give my students pretend scenarios and have them practice thinking of questions they could ask in each situation.

Our students always need to know why each skill is important, so I make sure they understand that asking questions gives the other person a chance to speak, which makes that person feel good and makes the conversation more interesting for the other person.

Step 4: Find Common Interests

Once our students are proficient at asking questions, they will now have the ability to find common interests with someone. We find common interests by asking questions about many different topics, until we find a topic everyone likes. I try and explain to my students how to tell if someone enjoys the topic or if the topic is not a shared interest.

Why is finding common interests an important piece of the conversation puzzle?

Because, when we find that golden spot where each communicative partner is engaged and interested, the conversation is so much more enjoyable for everyone.

 To teach my students how to find common interests, I have them first identify their own interests, then I have them practice asking questions that can help them find out if someone shares their interests. I also talk to them about how shared activities/situations such as the weather and school can be a common interest and can be used to make conversation.

Step 5: Take Turns Talking

I have listened to countless one-sided conversations perseverate on everything from squirrels to video games, and I bet you have too.

While these fixed interests are part of what makes the student unique, they aren’t functional because we know that it takes two people to have a conversation. And if one person isn’t getting the chance to speak, that isn’t really a conversation, is it?

Find a way to remind your students to take turns talking. Teaching your students to respond to a visual or auditory cue might be helpful if your student is struggling in this area.

Step 6: Stay on Topic

As we continue to climb the conversation ladder, our next rung is staying on topic. At this point, our students can (hopefully) ask questions and take turns talking, but if each conversation partner keeps trying to redirect the conversation to a specific topic…well that’s going to be a confusing conversation.

Find a cue that can remind your students what the topic is, and a cue to redirect them if they get off topic.

Step 7: Add Comments

This next step is really tricky. It can be extremely difficult for students to generate an appropriate comment, on topic, and insert it in the appropriate place in the conversation. I like to teach my students how use place holder comments such as a head nod, saying “uh huh” or “mmhmmm” to show their communicative partner they are listening. I teach them to listen for natural pauses or breaks in the conversation and insert comments in those places. I explain that adding comments like these lets their partner know they are interested and that they are paying attention.

Step 8: Ending the Conversation

Have you ever had someone literally walk away from you without doing anything to indicate they are leaving the interaction? It is kind of jolting and it is definitely awkward. Knowing how to end a conversation can be really confusing, so it’s important that we explicitly teach this skill to our students.

To do this, I explain to my students that just leaving a conversation is not polite…even if they are ready to be done with that conversation. Then I give them a few key phrases that they can use to end a conversation more politely. We also talk about making sure the other person is done talking before we leave the interaction.

Step 9: Practice

We all know that repetition is the key to learning. The more opportunities our students have to practice these skills, the easier and less awkward it will be come. The final step of teaching conversation skills is practice. I like to begin practicing full conversation skills by using conversation prompts in my classroom. I give my students a visual of the steps to having a conversation, and we work through each prompt, making sure we have used each step appropriately. If the student is struggling with a particular prompt, we practice it again until it becomes easier. Then, if it is possible, I like to practice using these skills with familiar people in our environment. This might be peers or other adults who are around us. We then practice and practice some more until the student has met mastery.  

Conversation Social Narrative

I have created a “How to Have A Conversation” Social Narrative, that teaches conversation skills using the steps I have outlined above. Each step is explained using simple, easy to understand language so that it can be understood by most learners, even those with language delays or disorders. Each of the steps above has a dedicated page in the story and a companion activity so that students can practice the skill in a structured lesson. There is also an option for the students to draw the pictures for their story. I have found these pictures spark interesting conversations and it also helps the students take more ownership of the story.

I usually spend one session teaching each step. I have found reading the story, doing the activity, and drawing the picture usually takes around 30 minutes. Afterwards, I like to send the activity home for the student to review with his or her caregivers. Once all the steps have been taught, we practice using each step together to try and form a conversation.

If you are interested in learning more about teaching conversation conversation skills in your speech therapy groups, please click the picture below!

How to have a conversation social story and activities
Conversation Social Story and Activities

If you’re interested in upping your pragmatic language therapy/evaluation game then you have come to the right place. Let me share my tips, tricks, and research with you so that you can approach this tricky area with confidence. Click here and we can start learning together--I even want to give you a free pragmatic language evaluation checklist so you can sample my work. If my style isn’t your cup of tea, you can unsubscribe at anytime 🙂

If you enjoyed this post, please share one of the images below on Pinterest!

Do you want to learn more social communication tips and tricks? Grab your coffee and start binge reading about teaching affective expression, empathy, and complex emotions!

Uncategorized

How to Make Friends

How to make friends

How to Make Friends

“I don’t have any friends!” “No one likes me!” Have you ever heard a student say these words? Did it absolutely break your heart? It’s broken mine. If you have ever had a student struggle with knowing how to make friends, keep reading my friend, and I will give you everything you need to strategically teach them this complex social skill.

As I began researching this topic, it became evident to me that many people don’t know how to make friends, and I am not just talking about people with Autism or Social Language Disorders. I was talking to my best friend the other day about her (typically developing) son who is having a hard time finding a group of friends at school. I asked her if she has tried teaching him how to make friends and she said “I don’t know how to make friends; it is just something that happens.”

Now that got me thinking. How do we make friends?

Subscribe to my YouTube channel so you can get access to fresh teaching tips, right when they drop!

Is making friends something that just happens naturally? Or is there a magic formula that will bring you success?

I think it is a little bit of both. When you make friends naturally, you do follow a certain set of steps. So, I think it is reasonable to assume that if people who do not make friends naturally follow these steps, they should be able to make friends. Or at the very least, they have a better shot at it than if they went into it blindly.

After doing some research, I simplified this extremely complicated process into 8 simple steps. I feel like these steps help students with social language difficulties break down this skill into pieces that they can manage, which leads them to greater success. Each skill builds on each other, so that students start by learning a simple and concrete task and keep learning new skills until they understand the steps to making a new friend. So, what are these 8 steps you ask? Read on and find out.

Making Friends Step 1: Smile and Say Hello

Do you agree that making a good first impression is the first step to making a new friend? “Surely people aren’t that shallow!”, you say.

If that is what you are thinking, I hate to break it to you, but you are wrong.

There is research that suggests we begin to make our first impressions of people in less than a second of meeting someone new. LESS THAN A SECOND, people. That is a really scary thought because I know that deep in your heart you know that your babies who struggle with social skills don’t usually make good first impressions.

It is a cruel and vicious cycle, but we can give these students a leg up by teaching them about the importance of first impressions and by teaching them how to make polite greetings. That is why the first step is practicing something as simple as smiling, and saying hello.

Making Friends Step 2: Be Polite

Being polite. Are you cringing at the thought of trying to teach this? I kind of am.

I will be honest, this is not a skill that your students will learn, master, and use overnight. This will take weeks, months, probably years of you gently pointing out and explaining rude behaviors to students. They probably don’t mean to be rude. They probably don’t even realize they are being rude, but nevertheless that is how their actions come across. So how do we begin to teach this skill? We teach what it means to be polite like we would any other vocabulary word. Then, as we see or hear about specific situations, we use them as teaching moments.

Making Friends Step 3: Find Common Interests

We find it easier to talk to people with whom we have things in common. I know for me, when I meet someone who is a teacher, an SLP, or anyone in the education field, I have an instant connection with them and we have lots of potential conversation topics. This is because we share the common interest of education. The more common interests we share with someone, the more likely it is that we will be that person’s friend.

When teaching your students how to find interests they share with others, first help them identify their own interests. After that, teach them how to ask other people about their interests. After they have learned how to ask others about their interests, help your students continue practicing these skills until they are proficient at finding shared interests with others.

Making Friends Step 4: Listen and Ask Questions

Watch yourself the next time you have a conversation with someone.

Is your first impulse to sit back, listen, and ask questions? Or is it to find a way to relate the other person’s comments back to yourself? If you said listen and ask questions, good for you! There are good listeners out there, but many of us (myself included) have a tendency to want to primarily speak about ourselves. Our kiddos with social language deficits really have a tendency to monopolize a conversation by talking about their specific interests.

We need to clearly explain this step to our students. They need to understand why it is important to ask questions to their communication partners and they need to be made aware of the times that they are monopolizing the conversation. We need to be teaching them how to ask good, strong “wh” questions and how to sit and listen to the persons response, then ask another good “wh” question. They will also need to be frequently reminded to not ask many yes/no questions and try and not comment about themselves or bring the conversation immediately back to their interests.

Making Friends Step 5: Spend Time Together

This is the step when true friendships are made.

Good friends spend time together. It has often been my experience that the more time I spend with someone, the better friends we become. In fact, this step can be someone’s saving grace if they made a bad first impression. When we spend time together, we get to know each other better and it becomes easier to talk to them.

Help your students think of ways they can spend time together using the interests they share with their friends. For example, if your student identified that a shared interest is playing video games, the time spent together could be playing video games at the other persons house.

One word of caution-not every parent will want their child spending time at other people’s houses. Not every student will feel comfortable hanging out with their friends outside of school. So, as you are thinking of ways that students can spend time with their friends, make sure that you are also helping them brainstorm ways they can spend time with their friends at school (or wherever it is that they met this friend).

Making Friends Step 6: Resolve Disagreements

Disagreements are a part of human nature; we know this.

What many of our students with Autism or social language disorders don’t know, is how to resolve those disagreements in a way that benefits both parties. This is why resolving disagreements is step six in my how to make friends guide.

I explain to my students that if they don’t resolve their disagreements properly, they won’t keep the friends they have worked so hard to make. After all, no one wants to be in a friendship where they don’t feel heard. I explain to my students what a compromise is and then I give them scenarios of disagreements for them to practice resolving. In my structured speech therapy room, they usually can identify a good compromise pretty quickly. The challenging part is using these strategies in real life.

Making Friends Step 7: Apologize for Hurt Feelings

Step 7 is similar to step 6, but it takes it a little bit further. I don’t just want my students to learn how to compromise, I want them to learn how to make a sincere apology.

Many times, our students just want to say “sorry” and walk away from the person whose feelings they have hurt, but in my opinion, these apologies are not adequate.

I explain to my students that there are two important pieces of a good apology.

  1. Say sorry for the specific situation (preferably using the other person’s name).
  2. Make a plan so it won’t happen again.

So, if Johnny spills his drink on Maria’s project, he should say something along these lines. “Maria, I am sorry I spilled my water on your project. Next time, I will make sure that my drink is far away from your work.”

  Making Friends Step 8: Be Patient and Keep Trying

Oh, step eight. This is the hardest step of them all.

As adults, we logically know we will not be friends with everyone and this step is still excruciatingly hard. After all, if someone doesn’t want to be our friend, it feels as if you have been personally rejected.

I am pretty sure that many of our students actually expect everyone to be their friend. Actually, I think we are guilty of teaching them this when they are very young. While I DO think it is appropriate to encourage everyone to be friends, I KNOW the reality is the opposite. This harsh reality needs to be gently explained to our students. *Insert nervous emoji*

So, how do I teach this painfully difficult lesson? I explain that making friends takes time. I explain that they might need to do all of these steps many times before making a friend. I explain that the more time you spend with someone, the more likely they are to become a friend. I explain that the more shared interests you have, the easier it is to become someone’s friend. Then I explain that even if you do all these things, you still will not be everyone’s friend. I explain that that this is normal. I remind them to be patient and keep trying. Eventually they will find a friend.

After I have explained this, I give my students authentic scenarios they might encounter in the real world and we walk through ways to handle them together. This is not pleasant and should be presented carefully and with an attitude of kindness, but I do think it is necessary.  Here are a couple of sample scenarios:

  1. You try to sit in a certain seat in the cafeteria, but the people sitting by that seat tell you it is saved. What would be the best thing to say and do?
  2. You ask your friend to be your partner for the group project, but he/she wants to work with another group. What would be the best thing to say and do?
  3. You text your friend asking about going to a movie, but he/she never responds. What would be the best thing to say and do?

As with step six, students can usually give an appropriate answer shortly after we begin these discussions. However, when they face these situations in real life, I have found my students to be deeply hurt and sad. Honestly, I feel that way too in some of these situations. It is important to keep an eye out for situations like this your student might be experiencing so that you can go back and talk about them later.

How to Make Friends Self Analysis

One more thing that I like my students to do is participate in a friendship self-analysis. I have created a worksheet that reviews the steps and I use it to help my students see how they are doing at following these strategies outside of the speech room.

Making Friends Social Story and Companion Activities

Making friends social story
Click the image above if you would like to see more of this social story about making friends.

Friends, I know we are all insanely busy, so if you are struggling with teaching friendship skills to some of your students, I would love for you to check out this resource. It is a social story about making friends using these 8 steps. There are also companion activities that go along with the story, so that your students can practice the skills that they have learned. If you are interested in learning more, please click the picture above and it will take you to it!

If you’re interested in upping your pragmatic language therapy/evaluation game then you have come to the right place. Let me share my tips and tricks with you so that you can approach this tricky area with confidence. Click here and we can start learning together-I even want to give you a free pragmatic language evaluation checklist so you can sample my work. If my style isn’t your cup of tea, you can unsubscribe at anytime. 🙂

Click the image above to get your free pragmatic language evaluation checklist!
Autism · social language · Social Skills

Activities for Teaching Empathy to Middle Schoolers

How to teach empathy

Where do you even start when you are trying to create activities for teaching empathy to the middle schoolers on your caseload? First, answer this question: how do you define empathy? I mean, really, take a second and try to put words to it. When I first sat down and tried to define empathy, the first thing I felt was an emotion. I know what empathy feels like, but a definition with words took a little more thought. After doing some research and reflection, this is the definition I settled on:

“Empathy is the ability to imagine a situation that another person is experiencing as if it is happening to you.”

Ok, so now we have a definition, but how do we help our students apply meaning to that definition? How do we help them to generate that feeling that we feel when think about empathy? How do we teach them WHY it is important to be empathetic in the first place?

These are the steps I use to answer those questions:

  1. Like we discussed in Part One, we first start by teaching about emotions, particularly the more complex emotions. However, since we already talked about emotions, let’s focus our thoughts on the next steps.
  2. I always enjoy trying to find an engaging activity to introduce a new skill. To introduce empathy, I might do this using a video. The Disney Pixar Shorts are a really good way to do this. There is not much distracting dialogue, so you can really take the time to emphasize the characters and how their body language gives you a clue as to how they might be feeling. If time allows, I would allow my students to watch the video through once in its entirety to absorb the message. Then, we would go back and pause the video to discuss each new emotion. If you have already been practicing emotions, hopefully your students will be doing well with this.
  3. If you have been working on emotions using my strategies, then you know that first we need to focus on teaching our students to identify their own emotions. After our students can identify their own emotions, we begin practicing taking someone else’s perspective and imagining how a situation might make the other person feel. This is the beginning of teaching someone to be empathetic.
  4. But we don’t just want our students to understand empathy, we want our students to actually express empathy! Expression of empathy is what develops friendships and inclusion in social situations. I teach this by giving my students a list of scenarios. An example scenario might be “What would you want someone to do or say for you if you were hurt or sick?” We could talk about how we like it when someone asks if we aren’t feeling well, or that we appreciate it when someone makes us a special food or gives us a hug when we are sad.
  5. Once we have talked about what we like others to do or say when we are experiencing a particular feeling or emotion, we make a plan regarding what we could say or do to express empathy when we observe someone else experiencing that feeling or emotion. I will give you a hint…it’s probably the same answer! If we go back to the feeling sick example, we would express empathy by asking someone “Are you feeling ok?” or by making special cookies to give to the person who isn’t feeling well.
  6. Drill and practice. Challenge your students to generate ways they could express empathy when they see others experiencing a feeling or emotion.

If you would like to learn more about teaching empathy and complex emotions, check out my resource Empathy and Emotions Activities. This resource contains activities that will help you teach complex emotions and empathy using the strategies outlined in this post.

I hope this post gave you some new activities for teaching empathy to the middle schoolers on your caseload! If you have any other tips or strategies, please leave them in the comments below so everyone can learn something new!

If you’re interested in upping your pragmatic language therapy/evaluation game then you have come to the right place. Let me share my tips and tricks with you so that you can approach this tricky area with confidence. Click here and we can start learning together–I even want to give you a free pragmatic language evaluation checklist so you can sample my work. If my style isn’t your cup of tea, you can unsubscribe at anytime 🙂

Click the image above to get a free copy of this pragmatic language evaluation checklist!
Autism · social language · Social Skills

Teaching Emotional Literacy Skills to Students with Autism

teaching complex emotions

                Complex emotions and empathy. Guys, these are some seriously tricky concepts. Most typically developing humans just “get it,” but for our students with social communication disorders the struggle is real. When we instinctively understand empathy and complex emotions, teaching these emotional literacy skills to our students with Autism is a struggle.

                So how do we find the words to teach something that we intrinsically know, but have rarely tried to articulate? First, we start by teaching emotional literacy. Emotional literacy is “the ability to recognize and understand the feelings and needs of yourself and others” (Davis, K.G. 2017). (You can read more about emotional literacy here). When I say we need to teach our students to understand their feelings, I am not talking about just happy, sad, and mad. We need to really delve into those complicated emotions such as frustration, anxiety, pride, and relief.

 Here is how I would go about teaching emotional literacy skills to my students with Autism:

  1. Choose the emotions you want to target. Each person is different, so the emotions you choose are going to be individualized based on your student’s needs. Generally speaking, I try and choose an area of greatest need, or, I like to start with an easy concept and scaffold upon that skill into a more difficult one. For example, I might start with mad and then talk about frustration. Or I might start with scared and then introduce anxious.
  2. I always like to begin teaching a new task with an engaging introduction activity. Using GIFs is a really fun way to introduce emotions. GIPHY has both an app and a website that allows you to type in an emotion and watch GIFs for that particular emotion. This is a fun way to introduce a new emotion before you begin to talk about it in-depth.
  3. After a topic has been introduced, I begin to explicitly teach the targeted skill. When teaching emotions, I begin by defining the emotion and giving common examples. I also want my students to get really good at identifying situations that might make them feel the targeted emotion. For example, first I would explain that frustration is a feeling of upset or annoyance you experience when you can’t do something you want to do. Next, I would give examples of things I find frustrating, such as slow internet, long lines, or not being able to fall asleep. Then, I would have my students try and generate a list of things they find frustrating.
  4. Up until this point I have only been having students think about their feelings, but the next step is to encourage our students to think about how a situation might make someone else feel. I make a chart and have my students pick someone they know. We pick an emotion and list things that make us feel that way. Then we create a list of things that would make the person they picked feel that same emotion. We talk about why we think the other person might feel that way and we look for any similarities and differences. Going back to the frustration example, I would say that I feel frustrated when my baby cries. If the person I was comparing emotions with was my son, I might say that I think he feels frustrated when he can’t do a puzzle. My son and I probably both get frustrated when the baby cries, because it is loud. I don’t get frustrated by the puzzle, because I am able to do puzzles.
  5. Drill and practice. Continue to challenge your students to think about a wide range of situations and predict how those situations would make them feel.

This is so much information and we haven’t even talked about empathy yet! Stay tuned for the next blog post in this series to learn more about teaching empathy.

Empathy and Complex Emotions Social Skills Activity

In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about teaching empathy and complex emotions, check out my resource “How to Teach Empathy and Complex Emotions”. This resource contains activities to help you teach complex emotions and empathy using the strategies outlined in this post.

I hope this post gave you a new perspective on teaching these emotional literacy skills to your students with Autism. If you have any other tips or strategies, please leave them in the comments below so everyone can learn something new!

Resources:         

Davis, K. G. (2017, April 6). Strategies for Helping Clients With Autism Learn Empathy. Retrieved from https://blog.asha.org/2017/04/06/strategies-for-helping-clients-with-autism-learn-empathy/

If you’re interested in upping your pragmatic language therapy/evaluation game then you have come to the right place. Let me share my tips and tricks with you so that you can approach this tricky area with confidence. Click here and we can start learning together–I even want to give you a free pragmatic language evaluation checklist so you can sample my work. If my style isn’t your cup of tea, you can unsubscribe at anytime 🙂

Click the image above to get your free pragmatic language evaluation checklist!