Everyday strategiesLast updated:
Support for everyday practice
- Make sure the children and young people are listening before you begin talking to them.
- Don’t assume that children and young people can understand what you have said. Some children can talk about their favourite topics, but struggle to understand what people are saying to them. Use easy to follow sentences and avoid negatives. For example, say “Sit on the sofa” rather than “Don’t jump!”. Say “Put your coat on the peg” rather than “put your things away”.
- Try making things visual. This could be showing/drawing pictures or writing things down.
- Don’t assume children and young people are being lazy, naughty or difficult. They may be experiencing things differently or get stressed in certain situations.
- Help them to understand why things are happening, particularly changes. They may find it hard to accept another person’s point of view.
- Get down to their level and show interest in what they are doing rather than asking them to follow an adult agenda.
Like reading, maths and writing skills, social interaction skills can be learnt. Some people learn social interaction skills by watching what others are doing and how they interact. Many others learn by focusing on one skill at a time, practising it and using it in different situations.
We can help children and young people who struggle with social interaction by playing games together, role-playing, modelling (including video modelling and prompts) and direct social skills training. This includes:
- Developing Play skills by playing games with teddies or dolls. This includes tea parties, catching a bus or riding on a train, going shopping, playing Simon Says, card/table games (such as Connect Four or Uno), kicking a ball with each other or sharing a jigsaw puzzle.
- Creating a social narrative to provide information to children and young people before having a friend over so they know what to expect. Have some ideas for things to do together or what to talk about.
- Using visual supports to problem solve social situations. For example, having one piece of cake leftover, managing a disagreement, or responding to someone getting hurt, upset or bored.
- Roleplay, or modelling so children and young people see ways of managing social situations in different ways.