Literacy based therapy is one of my favorite approaches for my students, as we are able to tackle difficult problems, using easy to understand stories. The newest resource I have been utilizing, Vooks, allows these stories to come to life!
Using books in therapy allow for a large number of goals to be targeted using a simple to understand story or theme. Working on expressive and receptive language goals while asking and answering questions about the stories read makes Vooks perfect as it helps increase student’s ability to participate.
Each story is read aloud to the students, and can be paused or played to allow for extra answer time. The words are on the screen, and highlighted as they are read, allowing for students to follow along are read with the story. My articulation students practice finding and listening for words with their speech sounds in them, then read the words with the story.
Vooks also works really well with social skills as they have books about neurodivergence, emotions, and problem solving. The large library of books means there is something perfect for everyone without having to purchase lots of books individually!
You can access Vooks via the apple app store here, google play store here, or access it via a web browser at Vooks.com! Books can be downloaded to your device for easy offline access.
Check out the free 7 day trial so you can see how you can use it with your students.
Social skills, my favorite area of being a speech-language pathologist. I never had a client in undergraduate or graduate school who had pragmatic language goals. I feel like it is not even an area that we truly target in our schooling. We are taught about AAC, PECS, autism, but how do we really help these students, and what is our role on the IEP team? I wanted to share some of the main things I do with my students, as I absolutely LOVE this part of my job.
Life Skills Push-in Therapy
This is one of the biggest things that has really helped my students. I push into work experience classes, created social skill advisory periods, and helped co-teach with teachers to assist with high need students. This has increased the carryover for my students, as I can teach them in the moment. Many of my students don’t understand that what they learn in the “speech” room can be carried over to everyday life. To read more on how I started push-in check out my blog post here!
One of the easiest ways you can start with social skill push in is helping with cooking time with your life skills students. I use yourspecialchef.net for visual food directions. If I don’t find something I like, I make my own. You can target functional skills that students will really use.
How To Structure Lessons
When I do push in lessons with a larger group of social skills students, I make sure it is as structured as possible. These students appreciate the fewest unexpected events, so I have lessons set up the same in order for students to focus on our lesson and not a distraction for the day. Each student has a notebook where they take notes. These notes are for students to think about each answer before shouting out. It also allows students to “stretch your brain” as I tell my students, this is to push them past their first answer.
In the middle of my lessons I do brain breaks which you can grab as a freebie on my Tpt. These brain breaks allow us to practice our lesson for the day, whether it be adding to a conversation, body language, or eye contact. Each of my lessons have worksheets, online quizizz (check it out), or board games that go along with the goal of the day. Finally, I give every student a daily job for the month. This allows us to build a strong classroom system, and keep each other accountable for something.
Social Skill Resources
Some of my go to resources and games for social skill lessons! Affiliate links.
If you are going to buy one thing, it has to be this book! Social Thinking Thinksheets for Tweens and Teens was a lifesaver my first year out of graduate school. I now base all of the language I use with my students off of this book. Includes a TON of lessons with matching worksheets. I use these lessons at least twice a month. I even help teachers by providing them the common language I use with my students so they can carry it over to their classrooms.
Sometimes I need a no prep option for my students to work on, and I struggled to find something for older students. So I made these one sheet, no prep pragmatic language worksheets. Students can fill these worksheets out then we can talk about them together. Allows them time to “stretch your brain” before answering. Grab them to target problem solving and inferencing in one worksheet!
What Do You Say… What Do You Do… At School? Social Skills Board Game is geared for younger students, as one of the areas is on the playground, but it can be used with your lower level students. My students skill enjoy playing games, and I love games that also target goals. Students race around the school to collect tokens and answer social skill questions.
“10 Ways” is the perfect social skills app for middle and high school students. There are 9 different topic areas that are targeted with this game. Why do I love this no prep game so much? Students love the jeopardy style questions. Able to save a game if you don’t get it finished in one session. Multiple students or groups can play. Variety if question types. I’m also lucky enough to have an Apple TV so I can screen cast my iPad for all the students to see.