Social Play and Friendships

** Social play and friendship skills evolve throughout life. The process begins with infant-caregiver interaction and develops through various stages into mutually supportive friendships and relationships. The starting point for any intervention is to identify the pupil’s understanding of and desire for peer-interaction/friendships. Specific resources for assessing and developing social play and friendship skills are given in the resources list, for example, The Social Play Record (White, C. 2006, Jessica Kingsley This gives small-steps
targets for each stage of development.

Two further approaches for working on social play and friendship skills are Social Stories (Gray, C, 2000/2002 and Social Scripts. A social story will support a pupil’s understanding of a particular issue and explain how to respond in a socially acceptable way. A social script will provide specific instructions on what to do, what to say, to whom and when (see table below). Both social stories and social scripts can be used very flexibly. They may be laminated and rehearsed with the pupil just before the real time situation or parts may be used as prompts when the eed arises. Either may use AAC systems such as VOCA, symbols, photos or illustrations to support the pupil’s communication. See AAC section.

Social scripts for greeting others:

WhoWhenWhat do I say
(spoken, signed,
symbols, VOCA)
What do I do
My mumThe first time that I
see my mum in the
Morning mum!Hug mum
My best friendThe first time that I see
Jack each day.
Hi Jack!High 5s
My teacherWhen it is my turn to
answer the morning
Good morning,
Mrs Smith
Look at Mrs Smith
Give Mrs Smith my
Hello card
My teacherWhen it is my turn to
answer the after-lunch
Good afternoon,
Mrs Smith
Look at Mrs Smith
Use my Big Mack
People at schoolThe first time that I see
the person in the day.
(and their name)
Look at the person
Use my talker


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Last updated: 28 October 2015

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