Our Social Skills Videos: A Breakdown
If you didn’t know, we recently added video lessons to our app, Let’s be Social. Our video lessons focus on the necessary social skills I teach everyday to my students. They model an inappropriate behavior and then stop to explain how this makes the characters in the scene feel. This is so important because our students don’t usually know that others are thinking about them or understand how their actions negatively impact others. That’s why perspective taking is so hard for our kiddos.
Who can use the videos?
Anyone with social difficulties or impairments, including people on the Autism spectrum, formerly diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, cognitive impairments such as Down syndrome, and social/emotional impairments.
Choosing the Topics
I selected certain skills to be the topics of our videos based on what I see my students’ struggle with every day. I work with a wide range of students, from seven years old up to high school with varying cognitive and language skills. We wanted to cover topics that are important for many different ages and abilities. Our topics vary from the nonverbal aspects of communicating, conversational rules, to more nuanced situations such as understanding sarcasm and humor. We also used actors of all different ages in the videos so people of all ages can feel comfortable watching our videos.
Structure of our Videos
Our videos set up the scene by introducing and explaining the skill we will be teaching, let’s say making eye contact for instance. The narrator explains what making eye contact means and why it is important. We made sure to highlight key words on the screen to aid the student’s comprehension. Next, we show the main character having some social difficulty. Thought bubbles appear that tell how each character in the scene feels. In our making eye contact video, the main character doesn’t make eye contact. This leads his friend to feel confused. The video pauses and a thought bubble appears over each character’s heads. They each explain their feelings. Afterwards the narrator reviews what went wrong and we watch our main character try again. The scene unfolds again, this time modeling the correct way to demonstrate the target skill.
After You Watch
I encourage anyone using our videos to pause it anytime. I often stop the video after the intro to talk to my students. This really helps them understand the topic. You can ask them-when do we use this skill? Have you ever used this skill? Have you seen others using it? Encourage a conversation between students about the topic to help them understand why these social skills are important. I also like to stop after we view the inappropriate behavior to discuss what happened. Feel free to go back and point out certain things after you’ve watched the videos through. After each video ends there are multiple choice questions to reinforce the topics learned.
I also have some more great news! We’ve recently produced 25 more videos so be on the lookout for them soon! New videos include taking other’s perspective, interrupting, understanding bullying and teasing, and knowing the difference between public and private.