Our school is in its third operating school year and I have loved working with all of the children who need specialized help with their communication skills. Our school houses Kindergarten through 6th grades and a special needs preschool. We have a wonderful faculty and there is a genuine spirit of collaboration and support among the general education teachers, special education teachers, and administrators.
My students have a variety of communication difficulties which require the help of a speech-language pathologist.
I help my students learn new words and learn how to use their new words in different contexts. If students are unable to use oral language, I might teach sign language or employ a picture exchange communication system. With some students, I work on retelling stories with the important story components, using correct subject-verb agreement, formulating complex sentences, and even social language skills.
My students are all hard workers, and I really enjoy seeing them increase their ability to communicate with their teachers, peers, and families!
Over the past several years, I have noticed an increasing amount of students who require help with their social language skills. These students require direct instruction on how to listen to their teachers, appropriate ways to interact with other students, and how to ask for clarification or help from others. For example, this year I have a student who is above grade level with all of her academic subjects, but is unable to start a conversation with her peers, doesn't understand when or how to ask for help, and is not picking up social cues simply through observation. She is often alone at school because her peers feel uncomfortable when she communicates in unexpected ways.
A social communication curriculum would help my students learn language skills that typical children learn through observation.
I have about 15 students this year who could benefit from a social communication curriculum, and I would love to offer some mini classes to general education teachers who feel their class could benefit from learning social communication skills directly. Each year, more and more teachers are asking about this type of communication help for their students.
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