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Discussion 2: Effective Social Skills Interventions

Effective social interactions among students with exceptionalities are essential to communicative and cognitive development. Students must be taught both verbal and non-verbal communication skills that enhance their social interaction and development of social skills. Special education teachers provide guidance and instruction to enhance social skills by teaching students how to resolve conflicts, exercise self-control, and manage their emotions in a variety of settings. Through classroom lessons and activities, teachers play a critical role in shaping positive character traits and developing independence in students with exceptionalities. For this Discussion, you will develop a draft of a brochure that includes evidence-based practices that promote effective social skills instruction for students with exceptionalities. You will then have time to implement feedback and new ideas before submitting the brochure as part of your Assignment.

To prepare:

  • Reflect on your experiences teaching social skills to students with exceptionalities.
  • Review the Learning Resources and conduct additional research on social skills instructional strategies for students with exceptionalities.
  • Create a social skills intervention brochure using the peer-reviewed articles and evidence-based practices that could be used at your current school site or for future groups of staff/students that you would like to work with. The purpose of this brochure is for you to provide information to staff, families, and/or peers to help them better understand how to support students with exceptionalities who struggle with social skills. You can select the age level and disability area to focus on, as well as who should receive this brochure (i.e., staff, families, community members, peers, etc.). Your brochure should include the following information:
    • Identity of the age group and/or disability type for whom the social skills interventions brochure is designed
    • A brief overview of the characteristics of students with exceptionalities who struggle with social skills and the impact they have on their learning and/or communication with others
    • Evidence-based strategies that can be used to increase their social skills
    • Helpful tips for school staff, parents, and/or peers

A draft of a social skills intervention brochure.

Learning Resources

Note: To access this week‘s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.

Required Readings

Fitzpatrick, M., & Knowlton, E. (2009). Bringing evidence-based self-directed intervention practices to the trenches for students with emotional and behavioral disorders. Preventing School Failure, 53(4), 253–266.

Gresham, F. (2015). Evidence-Based Social Skills Interventions for Students at Risk for EBD. Remedial and Special Education, 36(2), 100-104.

January, A. M., Casey, R. J., & Paulson, D. (2011). A meta-analysis of classroom-wide interventions to build social skills: Do they work? School Psychology Review, 40(2), 242–256.

Miller, M., Fenty, N., Scott, T. M., & Park, K. L. (2011). An examination of social skills instruction in the context of small-group reading. Remedial and Special Education, 32(5), 371–381.

Sansosti, F. J. (2010). Teaching social skills to children with autism spectrum disorders using tiers of support: A guide for school-based professionals. Psychology in the Schools, 47(3), 257–281.

Required Media

Laureate Education (Producer). (2012c). Social and emotional learning [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 13 minutes.

This video is an interview with Jennifer B. G. Symon, PhD, Associate Professor, California State University.

Accessible player


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