An Autism Connection

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Summer, social skills

This is the first week since school ended that I actually feel rested. I stayed a couple of weeks after school ended and purged and cleaned. I got everything done except my file cabinets. Then I went home and tried to focus on our new house. It's been difficult to shut my brain down because I am a little freaked out by the upcoming school year. I have perfectionist tendencies but lean more to organized chaos in follow through. I am itching to get back in there and re-arrange my furniture but I promised myself I would wait until the beginning of August. In the meantime, I have been trying to relax by walking. Here's  a couple of pics of my walk this morning. It's a pond really close to my new house. I ate my way around the pond (huckleberries, sallal, thimbleberries, salmon berries, and wild blackberries, yum) and sat and observed the beautiful bird life on the pond.

Then I went home and played with my dogs a little before crackin' open the ol' computer and checking on the blogs I follow. There was one from Jill Kuzma,  check out her blog here, who is an SLP in Minnesota that specializes in social skills. Her blog is filled with all kinds of tips and tricks related to social skills and language, as well as book reviews, etc and her blog has been incredibly useful to me when I have needed help with certain social skills I was addressing with my students.
This is one area where I feel more comfortable. I plan to explicitly teach social skills 3-4 days a week, and then embed it throughout the day. I have ordered materials and books from Michelle Garcia Winner's website which you can access here because Jill Kuzma has recommended them for students with Autism. When I checked out Ms. Winner's website I was truly impressed. She comes highly recommended by co-workers in my district too, so I look forward to getting the materials and figuring out how to use them. I was a little concerned at first that her materials might be a little "young" for my middle schoolers, but I have been assured that it will be perfect for them.
 One of the blessings of Jill Kuzma's site has been her link to youtube videos which address specific behaviors. Since my students have always been visual learners, I often started my social skills groups with short clips that addressed the topic at hand, before we started on seat work or role plays. I am not certain how this will all play out with my new students, but I am  glad I have this as a resource. She includes a very brief description of each video with what social skill it addresses and then a link. Here's a link to that part of her blog.
I hope you find something you can use in either of these websites.


  1. I just found your blog. Our SLP has introduced me to some of Michele Garcia Winner's ideas, and I love them! I am a resource specialist with 3-4 kids with autism on my caseload. Laura


    1. Thanks for posting, it still gives me a thrill! I have taught for a number of years now and have been truly blessed by the SLP's assigned to my students and their willingness to collaborate on everything. I follow a number of SLP blogs because invariably they all have wonderful information and share their materials. One of my favorites is Chappel Hill Snippets and all of her materials are free. If you haven't checked hers out, here's a link: I look forward to checking your blog out.

  2. Hi Jannike, your walking route is beautiful! I know it is hard to leave the classroom out of your thoughts, but it is healthier for u I feel. I too want to have a social skills lesson weekly. Just before school was out our school psychologist showed me a program that looked promising but of course I cannot remember the name, I will check out the one you mentioned. Thank you, Paula