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what can school do to develop ds's social skills?

(7 Posts)
newbrunette Tue 13-Nov-12 19:41:23

Hi, we have meeting with ds's class teacher and SENCO tomorrow, to disucss IEP and general progress (he is in Y1). I'm trying to clarify my thoughts before the meeting and I'd really appreciate any advice on the best ways that a school can support social interaction.

Their current support isn't great. They have a social skills group which appears to involve playing charades every week. And one of the midday supervisors "looks out for him" at lunchtime and apparently encourages him to play with others. I don't think he is being given enough opportunties or direction to develop his social skills.

What should they be doing? What interventions have helped your dcs develop socially?

Thanks very much in advance.

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Tue 13-Nov-12 20:10:46

I think at lunchtimes that an organised game, like farmer's in his den or something, is appropriate. My DS needed most of lunchtime to 'chill' to be honest, but a 10 minute game with half a dozen other DC each day would be great.

Social skills groups need to include some good role models, (at least 50% carefully chosen children) not just all the children who need help with their social skills. So long as they are practising turn taking and making sure they play games that your DS and the others enjoy, in Y1, that seems fine. If the school can 'sell it' as a really fun session, hopefully DC will be clamouring to play with your DS during these structured and controlled sessions.

porridgelover Tue 13-Nov-12 20:58:00

Clicked on the thread to tell you what school should not do, but ellenjane got there before, don't do social skills with a group of children all of whom are having problems.

I've posted this here before; the Talkability programme that I did with my DS's SaLT.
She felt that children on the spectrum do have the potential to improve their social skills if they have specific, structured, guided help. Not some namby-pamby effort of throwing them into a group and leaving them to figure it out.
I have the book and now that I have introduced school to the Social Stories book, it will be the next thing to focus on.

You dont teach a child with motor problems to start walking, by throwing them into a school-yard and expecting them to pick up how to stand and take steps from watching other kids. Its the same for ASD children and socialising.

Since I (very nicely) asked school what they were doing about the apparent bullying of DS, they have implemented structured programmes of 'buddying', exercise 'classes' at break-times that also focused on peer interactions, turn taking, pairing off. DS has now got a friend (! thats a BIG deal here) so , between home and school, something is working.
Hope that helps.

newbrunette Tue 13-Nov-12 21:05:28

Thanks to both of you. That's really helpful. Porridgelover, can you tell me more about the programmes your school is implementing? Any more details would be really helpful eg who runs them, how they're run, what does the buddying involve, etc etc.

A friend sounds like a great result - well done. I'd like one of those for ds too smile.

porridgelover Tue 13-Nov-12 21:30:48

brunette, at first he was getting time out with the resource teacher alongside another child who had problems (my guess...although his mum dropped something to me).
That did not go well.
After I complained discussed with school about my bullying concerns, they implemented a 6 weeks sports programme. They had a student sports teacher on teaching practice who did it with parental permission for his class and another class. Twice per week, his class went to the sports hall on break to play structured games with lots of turn taking, pairing off, group work. DS enjoyed it.
He has a TA who works closely with him, especially in the schoolyard to hover and explain things to him.
I do lots (and lots and lots and lots and lots) of work with him about what could the other person's thoughts/intentions/feelings be in any situation. Also lots on interpreting his own feelings. (I find How to Talk brilliant for that).
Any books I buy, I share with school.

I also spend a good deal of time talking to the various teachers he encounters and while I have no problem challenging them to do better, on the whole they have been great at taking on suggestions I've made.

newbrunette Tue 13-Nov-12 21:38:55

Thanks for that. Sound like your school have been really helpful. Does your ds have a diagnosis? Mine doesn't and I think the school think we're making a bit of a fuss about nothing. Did you have to convince them of the importance of work to support his social skills? Or have they always been on board? I feel a (very polite, of course) battle coming on...

porridgelover Tue 13-Nov-12 21:46:14

Yes, to be fair, since diagnosis school have been ok. I did have issues where I felt he was being bullied and I felt I had to put that in writing to them.
Before diagnosis though; hmmm, not so much. I did feel like the 'fussy mummy' looking to hang behaviour on an issue. I spent a morning observing him in class at the teacher's invitation and it was very much a 'look he's fine, stop fussing'. But 4 months later, when I had my (private) diagnosis in my hand, they were suddenly saying that yes, they had suspected something hmm.
I've taken a view that there is no point getting upset about that, I have to work with them (also vair polite grin). I did at one point think of moving schools but the current one have upped their game and I am satisfied at the moment.

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