Social skills are something that all children need to learn. Many children pick up these social skills automatically. However, understanding and using social skills is something that is often difficult for children who have autism. Social skills need to be taught, and practiced. The company Different Roads to Learning has resources that can be used to teach social skills.
Different Roads to Learning has been supporting the autism community since 1995. They sell over 500 products designed to be used to help teach specific skills to children with autism. Some of the products they sell can be used in a mainstream classroom setting, as part of a lesson on social skills. Other products would work better in a one-on-one setting, between a student and the adult who is teaching the skill.
They have several products that are designed to help teach very basic social skills. You can find these products by clicking on the link at the side of the page that says “People & Emotions”. For tools to help teach basic conversation skills, click on the link that says “Conversation”. These links are found under the “Flashcards & Visual Supports” link.
Here are a few of the useful products from Different Roads to Learning:
Emotions Language Cards
This contains a set of cards that show photographs of children. Each child is expressing a different emotion through their facial expressions and body language. These cards can be used to let a child practice identifying what a person might be feeling.
This set has 45 different cards that show photographs of children. Again, each child is shown expressing a specific emotion, mostly through their faces. This set comes with a resource guide that has guided questions and story starters, designed to help children learn to identify the emotions that other people are feeling, and to learn to demonstrate empathy.
Out & About: Conversations in Pictures
This is a series of cards that are connected by a ring. The front of the card has a cartoon drawing, and a conversation starter. The back of the same card has another cartoon drawing, and an example of what someone could say next, to continue the conversation. For example, one card says “Who do you like visiting?” There is a cartoon drawing of a person in the middle, who appears to be thinking about the answer to this question. Also shown are a few cartoon choices that could be given as an appropriate answer. On the back of the card, is another drawing, and the phrase “I like to visit…” This can be used to teach a child to understand what a question is asking, that an answer is expected, and what an appropriate answer would start with. This is just one of several sets of conversation cards they sell.