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Social skills for middle school and high school students

By Rosemarie Griffin
Middle School and High School LanguageLessons
Working with students at the middle school and high school level can be quite the challenge. Keeping things fun and functional can be difficult for even the most seasoned therapist. Middle school and high school students will let you know if the activity you
have planned is not appropriate for them or if it is the dreaded b word: B-O-R-I_N-G! With this in mind I wanted to let you know about an activity that I use with my students.
Surveys! Surveys you may ask – yes surveys. I like to use this tool to target a variety of communication-based goals. Goals may include but are not limited to: greetings, asking and answering social language questions and following directions.
The student will have a survey template with a question written at the top. Under each question are 4 choices and boxes to make tally marks for when people vote for their answer. So if we are working on a survey about school, the question may be “What is your favorite lunch to get at school?” The choices may be a. spaghetti b. walking taco c. hamburger d. pizza.  The students
would read the question to the participant and show them or read the answer choices. When the participant answers, the student would make a tally mark under the correct choice.
After they have asked the correct number of people and tallied their answers, they will return to the individual or small group therapy session. We will then talk together and see which answer had the most votes and which had the least amount of votes. If you are working in collaboration with a classroom teacher, you could turn this data into a math lesson. Pie charts anyone?
I love this activity because it gets therapy out into the larger school environment. Planning for the generalization of social language skills is so vital for all students, but must be a priority with older students. If a student can only perform a skill with
you in an individual session and nowhere else, it will not help that student become a more independent communicator. Independence with communication is our goal for all students!
So next time you are feeling overwhelmed about how to embed functional language practice for your middle and
high school students, think survey! You can check out a free survey when you fill out the information down below.


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