Inside: Social Skills worksheets for autism support classrooms, pre-k, elementary classrooms and teens. Social skills curriculum ideas and social skills printables preview.
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The IEP meeting was going as planned. The topic emerged. Social Skills. Everyone knew the student needed more practice. Everyone nodded, sure, this was an area of focus. Everyone was sympathetic, but waved their hands in surrender mode to make sure to note it was not their area of expertise. And all you could think was “Yes I know need to teach this, but just tell me how.”
Placing your hands over your mouth in surprise, raising your arms to greet a cherished friend or loved one and holding up one finger to signal that you need a minute, are all cues that are an important part of our daily lives. Social skills are the rules and norms that set the foundation for interacting with people, places, and the world around us.
Social skills are important for children because they learn how to keep their hands at their side while standing next to someone or resist that impulse to grab the toy from a peer, by the lessons they are taught.
Remember the little kid on social media sassing an adult telling Linda to listen? He picked up his tone and words somewhere. Throughout our development we build up our social skills and norms through watching family members or friends.
However, for students with autism, building up skills in this area can be like climbing a mountain with little to no equipment.
Children with autism want to build friendships and engage with their peers, but are not always independently following the model. Younger children are still in the beginning stages of figuring out social situations. Each group can enhance their social skills with strategies, practice and a bit of support using social skills worksheets.
It is time to gather your mountain climbing gear and start sharing.
Teaching Social Skills the Direct Way
Social skills are an essential part of classroom life as well. Students need to know how to interact socially throughout the school day. Break out the pencils, bingo markers or whatever writing utensil will not result in a “clean up on aisle 5” to start providing them with opportunities to learn about social skills.
The Social Skills Printables lay out the skills on paper in a direct, easy to follow way.
Golden nuggets for students who are on the autism spectrum and have developmental delays. Silver dollars for students in preschool and in primary grades who are learning about social interactions. Priceless to the teacher trying to figure out “how am I going to teach this.”
Deliberately addressing one hill at a time can lead to improvement and advancement up that mountain. The printables are a hands-on, tangible, already-done-for-you, way to do that. Tack them onto a lesson to supplement any curriculum or highlight them each day as discussion starter for developing more effective social skills.
What Teachers are Saying
The printables have over 2,800 positive reviews.
“I love this resource, not just for students with ASD, but students with a variety of diagnoses and learning differences. There is an enormous variety of activities and options, so there is absolutely something for everyone. It has been an excellent resource in individual and group sessions. I have successfully used it to reinforce lessons and work on individual IEP goals with students.”
“This is one of my best purchases on TPT. I had my group make a Social Skills Binder and they brought it to speech group. We would do an activity around a work sheet. They would build up their binder each week and they loved going back through the sheets on their own as a resource to remember the skills we learned.”
“I love this resource for my students that are on the spectrum. I really enjoy using the interest inventory and my students love choosing themselves what type of positive reinforcement they like to receive.”
A Peek Inside: The 4 Sections of These Social Skills Worksheets
SECTION 1: SELF-MANAGEMENT
Teaching self-management skills to students with autism is extremely important because it helps them to understand and regulate their own behaviors. It ranks in importance right up there with safety, encouraging communication and having access to reams of Velcro ™ if you are teaching in an autism support classroom.
Within these social skills worksheets autism support can be tailored to activities geared around developing each student’s plan for managing behaviors in situations like making a mistake and understanding appropriate options they can take during situations. There are also reinforcement assessments that allow the students to point, mark or circle their likes and dislikes. Open your eyes wide and tilt that ear to see (and hear) what they choose so that you can to get to know each student. Here are the pages that are included:
- Self-Management Checklist
- My Own Self-Monitoring Checklist
- Reinforcement Assessment 1
- Reinforcement Assessment 2
- Reinforcement Assessment 3
- Information is “POWER” Cards
- It’s Ok to Make a Mistake
- Social Skills
SECTION 2: EMOTIONS
Understanding and identifying emotions in themselves and in others will help set the foundation for building social skills. When we look at a person’s face and read their expressions, it helps us navigate more successfully in relationship building.
Emotions are a challenging topic for children on the autism spectrum; they might struggle to identify the emotions in themselves and others.
You can help by using visual supports like a picture board or flashcards to teach different types of emotions.
But more than just teaching children hands-on, “show me the money,” making faces in the mirror identification, they need strategies in handling their emotions. These printables will provide them with examples of smiling, frowning, surprised faces and also ideas for when they are having those feelings. You can use the worksheets to highlight situations such as taking turns, working together, sharing space, and also attempting the ever present task of getting that volume level in the classroom lower. Here are the pages that are included:
- Match to Same -Emotions
- Point to the Emotion Cards
- Identify Emotions
- Emotional States
- Emotions – Match to the Same
- Tell this Story
- What Are They Feeling?
- I Need a Break Lesson
- Working Around Others
- Taking Turns
- My Turn Your Turn
- Sharing Space-Color by Code
- Sharing Vocabulary
- Volume Control 1
- Volume Control 2
- Trace Words
- Working With Others - Word FIND
SECTION 3: SELF-AWARENESS
Self-awareness helps students with autism and related special needs reflect on their feelings, navigate through difficult situations, and develop effective strategies for self-regulation. When students have a clear understanding of their own emotions and actions, they may make better choices that create success in and out of the classroom setting.
Sometimes students are bothered by things and they cannot explain the feeling to us.
Think about ways to allow your students to tell (using pointing, marking or circling) about the things that hurt their eyes, ears, skin, nose, and feelings. When thinking about what they do not like, or what upsets them, students have a better understanding of themselves. Which, in turn, can help them share their story with others. Here are the pages that are included:
- About Me...These Things Hurt My Ears
- About ME…These Things Hurt My Eyes
- About ME...These Things Hurt My Skin
- About ME…These Smells Hurt My Nose
- About ME...These Things Hurt My Feelings
- Making a Mistake
- Not Getting What You Want
- Calming Down
- Coping with Challenges
- Self-Awareness Words
- Describe a Feeling
- What Is He Saying?
- Emotion Apps
- Friends Graphic Organizer
- What is a Friend?
SECTION 4: COMMUNICATING WITH OTHERS
Children of all different ages and abilities rely on communication to express their needs and wants. When students have effective communication skills it helps with learning, perceived behavior, and socializing with others. Autistic children have a varied range of skills when it comes to communication. Some can communicate well, some have trouble communicating and some stand at the door completely decked out in a coat and shoes until you fully understand that it is time to go get those french fries they have been wanting.
Giving students opportunities to sign, act out or practice communicating helps them to better develop these skills. Situational practice such as role-playing or model examples of communication might work for them.
It is also crucial to add activities that show how to handle when they want something or do not want something, how to use certain words to communication, and how and when to say (or sign) thank you.
In addition to teaching communication skills to individual students, many of these printable pages are useful when teaching social skills group activities. Here are the pages that are included:
- What Do I Like the Best?
- Social Skills Vocabulary
- Saying Thank you
- When to Say Thank You
- Class Rules Narrative
- Imitate Others
- I Want This, What Do I Do?
- I Don’t Want This, What Do I Do?
- Repeat, More & Again
- Game Rules
Combine Resources to Target More Skills
The social skills printables are downloadable and available now as a single packet or as a bundle that addresses even more skills with Behavior Skills Printables, Imitation Skills Printables, Play Skills Printables, and More.
When used as a bundle, you can actively develop a classroom program that targets many of the social skills that students need. The year-long targets resource works alongside of the Social Skills printables bundle and the Personal Life Skills bundle (get separate or get them together in the MEGA Bundle here) to give ideas on making a self-created social skills curriculum and tells which worksheets from the printables to use each day. They also have some ideas for some teacher created materials as well.
While climbing social skills trail, students often need repetition. You can keep dusting off these social skills worksheets for kids in special education or general education, as often as needed. In some cases, go over them again to help your students reinforce these lessons.
Hopefully, that mountain just got a little bit more manageable.
Some Sample Pages:
- Creating a Classroom Program for Students with Autism - Part 1
- Creating a Classroom Program for Students with Autism - Part 2
- 5 Strategies to Teach Social Skills for Autism Support Classes
- Social Skills Training for Students with Autism
- Why Social Skills Are Important
- AutismClassroom.com's List of Social Skills Strategies