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Strategies To Teach Missing Communication Skills

In the previous blog, we listed the 18 Means of Communication. Did you have an opportunity to monitor your own or someone else’s conversation in order to notice and identify the different components of a conversation?


Here are the initial steps to get a program going:


  • Step 1:  Observe the child and identify which of the 18 Means of Communication he is missing.  For example, by observing the child’s interactions, you might discover that he rarely, if ever, compliments (#12).  Perhaps he also never comments (#14) when someone tells him something.  Have you ever realized that it is very boring to speak to someone who doesn’t comment or doesn’t acknowledge what you’re saying??!!

  • Step 2: Create a list of those missing skills so that you now have a clear list of goals that need to be taught. (Sample Goals: Complimenting and Commenting)

  • Step 3:  Teach the student the communication behaviors he is missing, one at a time. Thus, based on Step 2, you will need to use the 6 Steps to teach complimenting and commenting.


Here is a synopsis of the implementation of the 6 Steps for the skill of complimenting:


Label: Green – Complimenting  (At this time, it is not necessary to list a Red behavior as well.)  Tip: If the child tends to insult others, the Red would be “insulting,” and the Green would be “complimenting.”


Picture: Create a colorful, visual list of sample compliments in the child’s Red & Green notebook.


Model: Use puppets to model how one child/puppet compliments the other.


Practice: Have the child role-play using the puppets to compliment as well.


Reinforce:  Praise or reward the child for complimenting others.  You might tell the child that he has to find 2 people each day whom he needs to compliment.  Praise the child for having complimented 2 people each day.  Have him tell you whom he complimented and what he said.  Add those compliments to his notebook.


Correct: If the child failed to compliment anyone all day, he will need to practice complimenting 3 or 4 puppets or real people in your presence so that he gets to practice the skill.


Do you have any questions about this post?  Feel free to post your comments so that your questions may be answered.

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