December Snapshot - Social Interaction Skills

Updated: Dec 28, 2020

E.C.C. of the Month: December 2020


Learner opens up wrapped gift

Though our social gatherings my be limited or virtual this year, the holiday season is a time for celebrating friends and family. We love to plan opportunities for our learners to specifically practice social interaction skills every December.


What are Social Interaction Skills?

Social interaction skills include awareness of body language, gestures, facial expressions, and personal space. Instruction also includes learning about interpersonal relationships, self-control, and human sexuality. Almost all social skills are learned by visually observing other people. Instruction in social interaction skills in school, work, and recreational settings is crucial. Having appropriate social skills can often mean the difference between social isolation and a fulfilling life as an adult.


Social Interaction Skills Check-In

Highlighting one E.C.C. area each month allows me to pause and consider each of my learner's strengths and needs in that area. It also gives an opportunity for the learner to self-assess, practice, and reflect on these skills. When I observe my learners through the lens of a specific E.C.C. area, it helps me to notice skills that can be worked on. I love using the E.C.C. Workbook to guide these discussions. I also have these tools on hand if needed:

The EVALS kit from TSBVI: There are social skills-checklists that are very helpful.

Oregon Project: There are basic social interaction skills checklists for our young learners.

Infused Skills Checklist: This checklist highlights communication skills for our sensorimotor learners.


Social Skills Lessons & Fun

There are so many nuanced social skills that can be taught and explored for our learners with visual impairments... facing the speaker, picking up on tone of voice, making nonverbal cues and gestures, phone etiquette, eating manners, shaking hands, and how to make and keep friends... just to name a few. These are so much fun and so important to teach! Here are some things we have cooking for December:


Zoom "Among Us" Game: My middle schoolers are obsessed with playing Among Us, so I found this game to be used on a group zoom. I particularly love the opportunity for the group to discuss and deliberate, and I will pre-teach and discuss important skills that can be used.

Sandpaper & Cotton Ball Words: A colleague found a great lesson about how our words can be like sandpaper or cotton balls when talking with others. We will do this activity with real sandpaper and cotton balls to practice and discuss the impact of our words.


{Image: cotton ball and sandpaper on zoom, and another image of learner feeling the items}


Name that Emotion: I will have learners take turns over Zoom having a discussion while subtly conveying a particular emotion. We will take turns discussing how we picked up on the cues.

Opening Presents: If I have little holiday gifts for learners, we will talk about and practice how to look toward the gift giver and how to show gratitude for a gift received.

Dreidel: I have a learner that celebrates Hanukkah, so I will drop off supplies so we can play on Zoom. This will be great for turn taking practice.

{Image: student spinning a dreidel while looking on computer zoom screen.}


Pen Pals: I have 2 braille learners that are practicing the art of letter writing and fostering friendship through letters back and forth.

Zoom Etiquette: I am sure I will get some groans when I re-teach this one, but there are so many important things to keep in mind here since zooming is really becoming a part of our lives. One thing I have practiced with a few students is where to look so that their face is fully on the screen when they are speaking.


Social Interaction Skills Wrap-Up

I will be sure to take as many photos as I can of the learning taking place this month to include in my learners' digital portfolios and to share tips with families. It's so helpful when parents know the things we are working on so they can be reinforced at home.


How will you work on Social Interaction Skills this month? Follow along with our E.C.C. of the Month December activities in real time on Twitter: @stacey_tvi!


Happy E.C.C.-ing!

Stacey

Thank you Notes
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