Monday, February 15, 2016

Social skills picture book

Jed Baker's The Social Skills Picture Book: Teaching Play, Emotion, and Communication to Children with Autism is a useful text for working with children with social skill deficits. It provides a series of illustrated scripts for communication, play and emotional skills. In many ways it resembles Skills Streaming in that it offers simple steps to achieve a goal. Each step is then illustrated with a picture and annotated with thought and speech bubbles that demonstrate the process in action. It also often illustrates the wrong way to complete a step. This does present a black and white view of a social situation which is an obvious oversimplification of any social skill, but it is a launch point for the process.

What I liked about the book is its simple steps for creating your own version of illustrated scripts. Since many people on the spectrum do not generalize well, this could be an important point. I remember creating my own version of going to the dentist script for my son. We photographed him going into the office, going through reception, up a flight of steps, into the waiting room, in the chair, with the bib, and with the dentist. This photo sequence was critical to his acceptance of the visit without outbursts and anxiety.

The book targets elementary students. My preschooler who is not developmentally ready to move beyond parallel play is not going to find the sequence for asking a friend to play useful because he does not want to play with another.  Different skills would be useful for preschool. Different pictures would be useful for middle or high schoolers. The steps and scripts are a useful jumping point. The photo approach could be adapted to other curriculums with relative ease.

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