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Improving Social Confidence

This week’s Autism VTip for Better Hearing and Speech Month focuses on helping kids make appropriate verbal responses in common social situations. Scroll down for more…

While all kids need to be reminded to use good manners upon occasion, typical children seem to understand without being specifically told that there are certain situations that have set socially appropriate responses. Without much explanation, they understand that using those set responses is a form of polite communication people use to fit in and get along in a group.

More than Just the Words

For kids with autism, social niceties and the situations that call for them aren’t easily understood or readily apparent. It is easy to assume that the child who doesn’t respond appropriately is just struggling to find the words. But it may well be that they don’t even recognize that the situation has an appropriate response (let alone what that response should be).

Specific Responses for Specific Situations

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It can be hugely helpful for a person with autism to learn that there are certain specific situations that call for certain specific polite answers. Learning to recognize those situations and arming themselves with the appropriate polite response can help them feel more socially confident.

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Lesson Examples

The VizZle shared library has a trove of various levels of lessons that can help (I found the examples below and many more by using a keyword search for “appropriate responses”). Lessons geared to individual play are a good place to start. Once students grasp the concept, challenge them by adding the social element of a small group game or role playing exercise.

  • Appropriate Responses 2, (Book), VizZle ID Number: 14633
    Images and text w/audio of common situations and appropriate/polite verbal responses, with popup answer practice pages, 20 pages
    (No access to VizZle? Click here for a browser version—remember to maximize your browser and click play at the bottom.)

  • Appropriate Responses 2.1 , (Matching Board) VizZle ID Number: 14695
    Text w/audio question TO image and text w/audio label, field of 3 choices with set distractors, 9 pairs, with custom celebration
    (No access to VizZle? Click here for a browser version—remember to maximize your browser and click play at the bottom.)

  • Appropriate Responses 2 , (Game Board) VizZle ID Number: 14708
    Each tile has an image with a popup matching quiz, image and text w/audio question (e.g. “What do you say when you leave?”) TO text w/audio, field of 3 choices, 11 tiles, color spinner
    (No access to VizZle? Click here for a browser version—remember to maximize your browser and click play at the bottom.)

  • Responses 2: Role Play , (Book) VizZle ID Number: 36560
    Text and images in a format to encourage role playing the situations and appropriate responses learned in Appropriate Responses 2 series, 20 pages with custom celebration
    (No access to VizZle? Click here for a browser version—remember to maximize your browser and click play at the bottom.)

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Many thanks to Melissa Baker, MS CCC-SLP, Speech Therapy Department Supervisor at the Monarch Center for Autism, for agreeing to review and share her input on this month’s series of posts. Any errors or incorrect statements are purely my own and in no way a reflection on her expertise!

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