Sociables Grade 9-12

Successful social functioning is important for teens to demonstrate at school, at home, and in the community.  Those with Autism Spectrum Disorder struggle to generalize across these settings and often get stuck in novel situations.  The primary goals of this group are to teach teens how to decode social situations and develop a repertoire of appropriate responses in accordance with social rules across various settings.  Curriculum will be based on the works of Michelle Garcia Winner (Thinking About YOU Thinking About ME), James Loomis (Staying In The Game), Brenda Smith Myles, Melissa Trautman, and Ronda Schelvan (The Hidden Curriculum: Practical Solutions for Understanding Social Situations).

Students will have opportunities to practice and improve reciprocal social interactions with peers by:

  • learning how to initiate conversations on novel topics, with new people, and when there’s a lull in the conversation
  • taking turns in a conversation and elongating the length of social exchanges
  • strengthening listening skills
  • attending to nonverbal forms of conversation such as facial expressions and body language and how these impact conversations with peers
  • social problem solving and decision making

 These skills will be taught through several different media including:

  • analyzing video clips from appropriate iPad apps as well as popular TV shows/movies
  • engaging in social games and activities as well as working on group projects and role playing

Week 1: Intro to Group & Members (Thursday, July 22nd from 12:00-1:00pm)

  • Establish group rules & review the importance of understanding expected behaviors
  • Outline skills to be addresses in Teen Sociables group
  • Practice conversation starters

Week 2: Communication/Self-expression (Thursday, July 29th from 12:00-1:00pm)

  • Learning & using the four steps of communication
  • Attending to verbal cues: tone of voice, interrupting
  • Attending to nonverbal cues: body language, eye contact, use of social media
  • Practice maintaining reciprocal conversations

Week 3: Coping With Emotions & Behavioral Reactions (Thursday, August 5th from 12:00-1:00pm)

  • Begin emotion identification and social behavior mapping
  • Movement Strategies: scavenger hunt/nature walk
  • Stationary Strategies: progressive muscle relaxation, breathing exercises
  • Determining the correct coping strategy based on the situation

Week 4: Perspective Taking (Thursday, August 12th from 12:00-1:00pm)

  • Learning & using the four steps to perspective taking
  • Learn strategies to remember details about others
  • Learning to read other people’s reactions & thinking through hidden agendas

Week 5: Finding Similarities/ Accepting Differences (Thursday, August 19th from 12:00-1:00pm)

  • types of diversity, similarities vs differences: looks can be deceiving 
  • how to improve tolerance & acceptance of others
  • Human Bingo game

Week 6: Managing Transitions/ Behavioral Rehearsal of Social Skills (Thursday, August 26th from 12:00-1:00pm)

  • Strategies to successfully manage transitions will be reviewed (end of group, start of new school year)
  • Teens will have an opportunity to practice the skills they learned during this unstructured portion of the group

*All lessons will include an experiential activity, lesson that involves modeling or reinforcement of skills.

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