‘Tis the Season for Thinking About Others!

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The holidays are upon us, and I don’t know about you, but I could use some inexpensive therapy ideas to get me through these next few weeks and the post-Christmas let down known as “January”!   Between my ASHA dues, registering for my school conference, spending wayyyy too much on the TPT cyber sale and Christmas shopping for my family, my budget for extras is next to nil.  For the rest of this month, I am going to share some of my budget friendly ways to work on social language concepts here on my blog.  Ready? Let’s go!

I work on social skills with a variety of students including kids with ASD, ADHD, and social anxiety.  For some of my younger students or students with mild cognitive disabilities, my focus is on helping them to develop the language of emotion and beginning perspective taking skills. I  love these Webber photo cards from Super Duper , What Are They Thinking?   (I got a GREAT deal on Zulily last month!). Static pictures are a good way to start working on these skills, and as they become more accurate, you can broaden the skill into video clips, role play and real time interactions.

Here are some ways that I use the cards in therapy:

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For my students who might not have the language to come up with their own answers, I will either give them two verbal choices or two picture representations to help scaffold their answers.  As they get better at this skill (and gain confidence in their abilities), I fade the support. Moving from one explanation of what might be happening or what one person might be thinking, to two explanations or points of view, is a big cognitive leap! Start with one and then add on as you develop flexible perspective taking skills.  If you can connect a picture to a personal experience that they may have had, that goes a long way in building these skills too!

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Breaking down how to look for visual “clues” in a picture to make a good guess about what might be happening (either what the person might be thinking about or feeling) helps the student work on big picture thinking.  If you can identify details in context, then the next step is to put them together to make an inference.  Even when I get a really off topic guess from one of my kiddos, it gives me information as to where the disconnect might be in the student’s social thinking/perceptions!  This is not a one time therapy concept, so we have lots of time to practice and refine these life skills together.

What low cost ways do you use to work on perspective taking skills?

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