Are you looking for a fun and and functional guide to help improve your child’s social and language skills? Make Social Learning Stick is an excellent guide to help build social competence through a child’s daily routines and activities. I am a huge fan of Elizabeth Sautter’s work because whatever she creates is extremely functional, fun and easy for both parents and educators to use. As a speech language pathologist, I can pick up this book and know how to use it as a therapist. As a parent, it is written in a way that is easy for any parent to use regardless of their experience with special needs.
The book begins with an explanation of the term, social competence. What is social competence? According to Blair, 2002; Bodrova & Leong, 2005, social competence is “a term that has been used to describe social success or the ability to achieve social goals. It plays a major goal in developing and maintain friendships, academic achievement, working in small groups, and eventually in holding a job.” The book takes the reader through definitions of other terms including “executive functioning”, “prespective taking” and “social skills”. Make Social Learning Stick is organized into three major sections including home, community and holiday events. There are close to 200 activities included in the book with tons of suggestions on how to improve your child’s social skills.
For example, I used the activity “at the table” with my kids the other week. “At the table”, is split into seven categories including “talking stick”, “conversation cards”, “table manners”, wonder questions”, “dinner schedule”, “eye see you” and “show and tell”. Elizabeth has a great idea of using a talking stick to discus each other’s day. A “talking stick” can be a spoon, spatula or play microphone. This talking stick is such a clever way to giving each person a turn to talk in a organized and fun way. If you have a chatterbox at the table, this exercise can be helpful in giving everyone an opportunity. It’s also an ideal way to work on storytelling skills, recalling information and sequencing. This activity can be a nice opportunity to initiate, continue, and take turns within a conversation. If your child has difficulty with their speech, practicing with family in a relaxed setting such as eating dinner can be an ideal opportunity to practice improve their expressive skills. If your child is minimally verbal, provide them with a communication board to discuss their day.
To learn more about Make Social Learning Stick and to purchase the book, click here. To check out my interview with Elizabeth Sautter and a link to my book reviews of Whole Body Listening Larry books, click here. To check out Elizabeth’s article on Make Social Learning Stick on ASHASphere, click here.