Friday, April 15, 2011

Book of the Week: The Social Skills Picture Book

The Social Skills Picture Book by Jed Baker was one of my favorite resources when I was working as a Special Education teacher.

In my opinion, this is not a book to be used by children with autism (although it can be), but rather a resource for parents/educators of kids with autism (and other related disabilities). 

Over 30 social skills are portrayed in this book. Skills that some neurotypical children pick up just by observation are very challenging for children with autism to learn... because there is an entire hidden curriculum that we teach kids... and if they miss certain cues, misread facial expressions, misunderstand intonation/sarcasm, etc. they can completely miss out on a lot of things. 

Jed Baker has said, “Children of all ages learn more effectively when pictures are used to supplement verbal descriptions and instructions...It’s particularly effective, or most helpful, when people build their own picture books, because they can see themselves in the book.” 

Creating social stories or individualized picture books are great ways to teach social skills to all children... since what is helpful for children with autism is often wonderful for all kids. Sharing, taking turns, initiating play, making conversations, joining a group, dealing with boring activities, etc. are all skills that are useful for all kids to know.

This book portrays all 30 social skills and shows the right way and wrong way to interact. It contains lots of pictures and little conversation bubbles. When I was creating picture books for my students I loved to use this book for ideas and help with sequencing my stories properly.

Some possible uses of Social Skills pictures stories are listed below:

- Personal space (not invading other people's space)
- Interrupting
- Starting and maintaining a conversation (or not talking about the same thing over and over again that is interesting to you and boring to others)
- Accepting No for an answer
- Dealing with teasing
- Compromising
- Dealing with losing

I actually love referring to this book when trying to help out my 3 year old! If you haven't checked it out yet, do it!

I think we will be writing a social skills picture story about "accepting No for an answer later" today. That is a tough one for all kids- especially at our house lately! Seeing pictures and reading a story is much more concrete for my son than trying to role-play. 

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