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A social skill hack for elementary to high school students

By Rosemarie Griffin

A social skills hack for elementary to high school aged students. This blog and video discusses an easy and free strategy to work on social language skills.


Working with students who vary in age and are working on increasing their social skills can be a bit of a challenge. This hack will help you use one material – that you probably already have- for many different clients. This material is UNO. UNO is a very popular game that is played often in the home and school environment. The only problem is that it can be hard to play for some students who have more complex communication disorders. Playing this game in the ways that are suggested and depicted in the video can help your students increase their social language, play and leisure skills. In a general sense when we work on this skill we can address the following skills: working in a group, turn taking, waiting, following the game rules and matching. Here are some ideas on how I like to play this game with my clients, so that leisure can be fun for all!

  1. One modification for playing UNO is to take out the special cards (i.e. reverse, skip, draw two, etc..). Sometimes these cards can be confusing for students.
  2. Another modification is to take out all of the special cards and lay one card of each color on the table. The students draw from one main pile and match their chosen card to the correct color pile.

It is important that all team members and parents too understand the modification that you are using to play, so that they can generalize these skills. Find the video below about how to modify uno. This is a great video to share and it can also be used as a video model before playing the game with students.



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Here's a free resource–

IEP Goal Bank

Writing IEPs for autistic learners can feel daunting.

From this free download, you'll get real-life examples of specific, measurable goals for expressive language, receptive language, play skills, and imitation.

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