Most of us don’t get social skills curriculum from our schools. Cue to many of us spending hours making our own material and trying to write a scope of social skills curriculum. Yes, curriculum creator is one of the jobs we usually unexpectedly sign on to do the day we sign our first teaching contract. However, I think not having a set curriculum leaves us open to missing out on some super critical skills that our students, frankly, need to learn to be successful. It’s like trying to wing it through while cooking. Yeah, you might be able to make a really a really great casserole by just winging it, but have too much or too little of an essential ingredient can leave you dissatisfied with your creation. I have learned so much about teaching theory of mind, flexibility, and more thanks to using resources that really dig deep into these vital skills.
Between teaching in a special education classroom and working with in-home clients, I have acquired a small collection of social skills books. Whenever I am planning lessons in my classroom or writing a program for a client, I always consult these books. It just makes it so much easier to know how exactly to break these skills into manageable parts.
Confession: I have never heard of the concept of theory of mind until I was given a book on it by my clinical director. It’s really nothing none of us haven’t heard of. It is basically perspective taking, which many of us know this is tricky for our students. However, I love that this book begins with very basic skills, such as joint attention, emotions identification, and imitation. The book then moves up to targeting more advanced skills, such as understanding figurative language and self-assessment. There are also caregiver letters to photocopy or just use as a template for notes home to parents about skills targeted. The format is based on classroom lesson, so it’s super easy to implement for a special education classroom or small group.
If you are familiar with writing ABA programs, this book is for you! I love the fact that this book is based on ABA principles. Not only that, it is easy to implement in a classroom or with an individual client. Each skill is task analyzed and lists prerequisite skills. I found this book could tackle a very broad range of skills. I have personally used it with clients as young as 7 all the way up to those in their teen years.
The best part about these materials is that these books are much more affordable that a lot of curriculum out there. Even the most penny scrimping teacher can afford those types of prices!
Teaching Theory of Mind: A Curriculum for Children with High Functioning Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, and Related Social Challenges
LEGO®-Based Therapy: How to build social competence through LEGO®-based Clubs for children with autism and related conditions
Crafting Connections: Contemporary Applied Behavior Analysis for Enriching the Social Lives of Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder
You Are a Social Detective