I know it’s hard to find social skills resources for adolescents in speech therapy, even more so free ones. Over time I’ve found some gems in my many pages of google search, so I thought I’d share my tween/tween social skills activities with you all!
- Story Board: This is a free website to make digital stories or cartoons. While initially a bit time-consuming, it lets you easily model and visualize various social problems or scenarios. You can make any social situation or social story you want with perfectly customized dialogue and/or thought bubbles. I like to save this as an activity to do after we have verbal discussions but it can work in any order!
- Social Communication: This is a great site with free activities for goals like social initiation, showing interest, and identifying/using sarcasm appropriately. Be warned the language can be pretty advanced so it’s ideal for a student with otherwise typical expressive-receptive language skills. Otherwise, you can break down or simply focus on snippets of the text and primarily do the video, audio, and short scenario exercises with your student.
- Jill Kuzma: An experienced speech language pathologist in the area of social-pragmatics, Jill did us all a huge favor by posting all of her wonderful therapy activities free online. She covers a wide range of topics not limited to but including executive functioning, perspective-taking, emotional regular, conversation maintenance, and friendship skills.
- Everyday Speech– This a website that has a lot of video models of social situations and social skills in action. While I personally have a yearly membership for videos, you can actually find a lot of videos free on the website or on youtube when searching everydayspeech. I believe those free ones even come with worksheets your students can fill out afterwards to have them reinforce the skills taught in the video. I’ll be honest though: I think the $99.99 yearly is completely worth it to have over 300 quick and well-modeled videos of social skills lessons.
- Pixar Shorts– These are very short, animated, and wordless Pixar films on Youtube that I use to work on social inferencing skills. I typically pause the film multiple times to ask about facial expressions, expected vs unexpected behavior of characters, observed friendship skills or lack thereof, perspectives and feelings of characters, and any other pragmatic content in the short. I sometimes like to use these TPT questions set, which is $5, but you could also easily come up with your own questions after a quick view. The shorts are often funny and highly motivating, and I would advise using animated clips before moving on to photos and videos of real people. Animated clips are great because reactions and expressions are over-exaggerated and thus easier to read for students with social-pragmatic disorders.
Well, that’s a wrap on social skills! For more ideas, read this blog post on using a decision-making framework for social problems/situations.