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by Jess

Reality and misconceptions about helping kids improve their social skills

May 24, 2014 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Whenever I have the opportunity to speak with fellow Camp Directors who run camps designed for neurotypical children the topic often leads to discussing their campers who present with social-cognitive challenges. In other words, their campers who struggle socially in the camp setting.

Through my discussions with camp colleagues as well as professionals who work with children who present with social skill challenges I often hear that many parents are not interested in sending their child to a summer camp that is designed to meet their child's needs. In some cases the child may not want to go to a camp designed to meet their needs as they understandably want to see themselves as no different than their neurotypical peers despite the fact that they are frequently met with rejection from the same peers who's acceptance they crave. While these parents know there is a risk their child may be unsuccessful in the camp setting they believe that the best way for their child to improve their social skills and provide their child with a feeling of normalcy is through having their child participate in recreational settings (like summer camp) with their neurotypical peers. Often this well intended approach backfires for the child, particularly as they get older and social expectations increase. This led me to question as to where this widely held misconception comes from that children who present with social skill challenges can improve their social skills by simply being around neurotypical peers. Read the rest of this entry →

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Profile photo of Jess

by Jess

iPad Apps That Teach Social Skills To Kids

December 4, 2012 in App Review by Jess

Basic social skills may not come easy to some children. However, iPad has a number of applications on the market today that can help teach children social skills in a non-threatening and easy to learn environment. The following are the top iPad applications to help your child interact in social and independent settings.


Stories2Learn offers parents and teachers the tools to implement stories utilizing audio messages, text and photos. The stories can then be used to develop the person’s social skills. For example, if someone is learning the concept of taking turns, trying to improve eye contact, sharing or other social activities, the concepts can be showcased in a story that the parent or teach designed within a matter of minutes. The designer can also add their own dialogue and audio to correlate along with the photographs. Read the rest of this entry →

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Rating: 3.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Does My Son Want Friends?

March 13, 2012 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

When I pick my son up from school I always ask him the same question, “How was school today?” This is always answered the same way, “It was good.” When I ask him to expand on his answer he will tell me about all of the academics he worked on, what therapies he went to, and whether they had PE, computer lab or went to the library that day. It’s a fine answer, but not really what I’m looking for. My follow up question is always, “Who did you talk to today?” For the last few months this has been answered with, “Nobody.” Really, you went the entire day without speaking to anyone? “Well, a couple of kids said hi to me, so I said hi back,” he would reply. That’s it!!! Read the rest of this entry →

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Rating: 5.0/5 (3 votes cast)

Social Skills and Life Skills Apps

January 17, 2012 in App Review by Doug Goldberg

What are Good Social Skills?

The ability to effectively adapt our social behavior around others according to the situation, what we know about the people in that situation and what our own needs are. (Michelle Garcia Winner & Pamela Crooke, Social Thinking at Work)

What are Life Skills?

Life skills are problem solving behaviors used appropriately and responsibly in the management of personal affairs. They are a set of human skills acquired via teaching or direct experience that are used to handle problems and questions commonly encountered in daily human life. The subject varies greatly depending on societal norms and community expectations. (Wikipedia) Read the rest of this entry →

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Book Review: Social Thinking at Work

January 2, 2012 in Book Review, Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

“Social Thinking at Work: Why Should I Care,” by Michelle Garcia Winner and Pamela Crooke is a game changer. This book provides practical advice to every adult whether you are on the Autism Spectrum, Neurotypical (NT), or somewhere in between on how to navigate the social intricacies involved with the workplace. I have long held the opinion that the ability to socialize and get along with people is as important to creating a successful career as being good at your job. Thus, success very often requires a combination of academic intelligence and social intelligence. Social Thinking at Work creates a roadmap for those individuals with weaknesses in social intelligence to “better understand the expectations of the social mind.” According to Michelle and Pamela, “Our goal is to make information explicit by breaking down and defining how the social mind works, and how it’s linked to social-emotional and behavioral expectations.” Read the rest of this entry →

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Rating: 4.6/5 (5 votes cast)

Temple Grandin, Roy Rogers & Reality TV

August 26, 2011 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

Cue the music……One of these things is not like the others.  One of these things just doesn't belong.  Can you tell which thing is not like the others, by the time I finish my song?

Did you guess which thing was not like the others?  Did you guess which thing just doesn't belong? If you guessed “Reality TV” is not like the others, then you're absolutely...right! Read the rest of this entry →

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