When I work with graduate interns, I ask them to write and implement a Social Skills Group for children ages 6 to 11. I share three books to help them prepare for this task.
Teaching Social Skills to Youth includes an index that cross-references the 182 skills to the Six Pillars of Character – respect, responsibility, trustworthiness, fairness, caring, and citizenship. It includes references to and information from the latest research findings. The book also features the step-by-step component behaviors to 182 skills, from the basic (following instructions and introducing yourself) to the complex (managing stress and resolving conflict). Opening chapters explain the individual and group teaching techniques that enable youth to recognize when, where, or with whom to use a particular skill.
Treating Youth with DSM-IV Disorders includes 43 commonly diagnosed disorders that affect children and adolescents. Easy-to follow charts highlight the disorders separately and include detailed diagnostic criteria and a list of social skills that can be targeted during treatment.
Getting Along with Others is an activity book that includes 30 charts that can help you make social skill learning and practice lots of fun for your child. Suggestions on how to use the charts are included. Skills on the charts include: Listening to Others, Showing You Care, Following Instructions, Controlling Your Anger, Accepting “No,” Correcting Mistakes, Interrupting in a Nice Way, Saying Something Nice, Telling the Truth, Saying You’re Sorry, and Offering to Help Someone.
This group is offered free to the community, and everyone has a great time. The group is composed of no more than eight children and one volunteer helper. I have been very impressed with the variety of creative interventions the graduate students have found to teach basic social skills. Their choices have allowed children to learn the lesson through the primary use of play.