Strategies to Develop Social Communication Skills within the Classroom

There are currently a range of published programmes available which aim to support children with Social Communication Difficulties*. However, the difficulties experienced by these children can also be addressed within the classroom environment by strategies which focus on:

Basic communication skills

  • Seeking and praising eye contact when talking to pupils
  • Explicit discussion of ‘good listening’ behaviours
  • Role play activities (e.g. literacy, history etc.)
  • ‘Good listener’ rewards
  • Circle Time activities
  • Miming activities
  • Mirroring Activities (PE)
  • Use of a tape recorder
  • ‘Voice level’ rules for the class
  • Consistent teacher response to interruptions
  • ‘Compliments board’ within the classroom.

Awareness of self and others

  • Picture symbols/faces to show emotions
  • Music – discussion of emotions conveyed
  • Supporting and discussing needs of new pupils
  • Definitions/synonyms for emotions
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Trust games (PE)
  • Role play (e.g. Historical events)
  • Video feedback
  • Debates/discussions
  • Portraits (painting/discussing)

Awareness of social contexts

  • Modelling use of the voice in story telling/reading
  • Group problem-solving tasks
  • Music-speed/volume activities
  • Giving/receiving compliments/criticism
  • Giving/asking for directions (Geography)
  • Asking for help
  • Taking messages
  • Using a telephone
  • Role play
  • Shared text discussions [i.e. audience, purpose etc.]

Any of the above strategies could be incorporated into a pupil’s Individual Education Plan in order to target and monitor specific areas of difficulty.

*E.g. 1Alison Schroeder (1996) Socially Speaking: A Pragmatic Social Skills Programme for Primary Pupils 2Wendy Rinaldi (1992) Social Use of Language To monitor and evaluate progress it is important to log and review strategies noting the most effective.

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Last updated: 22 October 2015

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