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Ways to support not covered on other pages to help with social interactions including turn taking and talking to others
We often don’t think about how we make friends and interact with others, we take it for granted that we know what to say and how to behave around others. For some children social interactions can be confusing and worrying. They can be a minefield of social cues, and subtle gestures that can be difficult to pick up and understand. Teaching children social skills can help them know what to say and do in different situations, helping them gain confidence to build friendships and know how to behave with others.
Strategies to support social interactions
Learning to take your turn comes as children grow and develop and become more aware of the feelings of others. Sometimes children may need help to learn this skill.
Having something visual to show whose turn it is can help children understandtake their turn in a conversation and game. The visual aid may be a toy to hold or a hat to wear that is passed on each time someone new takes their turn.
Talking to Others
Giving a child that is struggling to make friends the words to initiate a conversation with other children can help them start talking to other children, and give them confidence to have a go. Practicing conversations at home can also help build a child’s confidence in talking to others.
Other Social Skills
Sometimes children have difficulty picking up daily routines or social behaviours. when this happens children need to be taught the skills and behaviour for different situations specifically. Simple stories that break down a routine or behaviour into several small, simple steps helps children gradually change behaviour and learn what to do in situations they find difficult. The text is simple and short, and used alongside simple line drawing pictures or photographs. The stories are shared with children again and again, and can be acted out to help them understand and remember what it tells them to do. Each social story is created in the way that is best for an individual child, but the more personalised it can be, the better. Here are some examples of different types and styles of Social Stories.
We all follow routines each day. These become automatic. We don’t think about what we are doing, it just happens. This enables us to think and focus on other things. If we don’t know what order we should do things in, or what will happen next, it can cause us to become anxious and prevents us from concentrating on other things. Some children can experience this uncertainty and anxiety every day, when they can’t remember what comes next in a sequence or daily life. Having a visual timetable showing them, helps them know what to expect and can be checked at any time should they need to remind themselves, greatly reducing their anxiety levels. In a similar way, having a routine sequence suddenly change can also cause anxiety. Preparing and forewarning children that a routine will or may change helps them accept the change more readily.
Visual timetables of activities for the day can help children feel relaxed about their routines and the sequences they use each day. It can also help to show them when a change to this routine may be needed.
First / Then sequencing
Sometimes children can worry about what will happen next and this distracts them from focusing on the task they are working on. Having a short sequence of tasks or activities enables them to know what will happen next, and help them to relax and focus.
First / Then / Next board (use with Daily routine cards above)