Courtesy of Noodle Nook!
1. Set a realistic goal
Clearly define what the behavior is going to look like and make it manageable. Rome was not built in a day and good social skills were not crafted in a day either. Pick age appropriate behaviors that can be developed in small, manageable steps that you can chart to monitor progress. This is a critical step to teaching social skills.
2. Tell Why
Explain why the desired behavior is important- remember to presume competence. They can hear you, understand you, and want to know why. Some people never bother to tell a student why a behavior is the right way and talk about how it makes people feel. How can you skip this important step to teaching social skills?
3. Model the Behavior
Demonstrate the behavior- and do it without a lot of extra talking (unless you are modeling the internal dialog as part of the desired behavior). You can do this with role play, video modeling, or watching others and pointing out the appropriate targeted behavior.
It takes a lot of practice to change behavior. Don’t think you will change behavior in one try… it is going to take some serious practice.
Set up a natural cue or prompt for the behavior. You have to teach what the social cue is for the desired behavior as well as the behavior. Think, does the student know when to do the behavior you are training? How can you skip this important step to teaching social skills?
Celebrate success! When a student gets it right, remember to reinforce it. And this does not always mean food or drinks… try verbal praise, high-fives, or other non-edible reinforcers.
Getting it right with you is one thing, but what happens when you are not there- does the good behavior still happen? Make sure you take that extra step and generalize the skills so that a student can get it right with lots of different people.