Small Group Social Skills Instruction
Small group social skills instruction provides another layer of intervention for addressing skill deficits. Often small numbers of students are at risk for or have difficulties mastering the same skill and can be grouped together for efficiency and provided additional instruction. We recommend several resources for structuring small group social skills instruction. Topping our list is Social Skills Training for Children and Adolescents with Asperger Syndrome and Social-Communication Problems by Jed Baker.8 Baker includes not only teacher-friendly lessons and activities but also helpful advice for structuring the sessions, managing behavior during them, individual student assessment for determining what social skills to work on and what instructional strategies are most effective, and many reproducible forms.
Choosing Curricula: A Case Study
Some of my colleagues and I (Kaye) went through a process of rating social skills curricula for the purpose of choosing the most cost-effective program to purchase for use in a public school district that others may find helpful when making similar decisions. We chose six curricula to review: (1) Connecting with Others, (2) Getting to Know You, (3) Second Step: Violence Prevention, (4) Skillstreaming, (5) PATHS, and (6) Super Skills. Five of them were chosen because they had been previously reviewed by the Heartland Area Education Agency 11 in Johnston, Iowa (www.aea11.k12.ia.us) to determine if they were supported by research and given either a gold, silver, or "promising" rating. The sixth curriculum was chosen because it was specifically designed for students on the autism spectrum. Most publishing companies send educators a copy of their curricula to preview for four to six weeks at no cost.
We created a rubric (Table 4.2) for the purpose of rating each curriculum, and five experienced behavior and autism specialists completed the rubric in six areas: (1) preassessment, (2) direct instruction activities, (3) guided practice activities, (4) video examples, (5) generalization activities, and (6) supporting children/youth literature. Results of their rating are shown in Table 4.3, and general information, including price and where to order each curriculum, is shown in Table 4.4. Other resources and curricula that we have found helpful for small group social skills instruction (and many would also be helpful for individual replacement training that we will focus on in the next chapter) are listed in Table 4.5.
Children's literature provides an effective avenue to opening up discussions about various social situations and captures student interest. Over the years, we have developed a large collection of children's literature on various social skills topics, which is provided in Table 4.6 at the end of this chapter.
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