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Social Language Skills- Is It Our Job?

I am delighted to share a guest post today from Linda from Looks Like Language.

She’s a awesome SLP who has done a lot of  great work in the area of social pragmatic language.Welcome Linda!

Hi! I’m Linda from Looks-Like-Language and I am so excited that Lisette invited me to guest post on her fantastic blog about innovative practices in speech/language pathology. Today’s post is part of the terrific blog hop organized by Jen Preschern from Speech Language Literacy Lab. This is my very first ever blog post, so I hope you find it interesting! Lisette, thanks so much.

I don’t know what SLPs say in your neck of the woods, but I’ve heard, ”But isn’t that the social worker’s/counselor’s job?” when I’ve talked about older students’ social language needs. Calling the skills “social language” is innovative, but SLPs have always worked with the use of language, or pragmatics.

When I returned to middle school a few years ago, I realized that my traditional training in pragmatics did not extend far enough. As children grow older, most develop the ability to use language in subtle ways that grease the wheels of social interaction, such as using euphemisms, making indirect requests, offering suggestions politely, and acknowledging other’s feelings and opinions. Often our students only know how to be blunt!

Many of these social language skills involve using complicated sentence structures or understanding situations by reading between the lines.  How can the other wonderful support services help students practice and utilize skills when they don’t have the receptive and expressive language base needed? Isn’t it our job to help students acquire missing language and communication skills? In my experience, students get more so much more benefit from counseling sessions when they already have the language skills in place when they walk in the door!

For example, take H., a student of mine with anger management issues. After learning vocabulary for emotions, such as irritated, annoyed, and bothered, as well as the language and strategies for thinking about the size of the problem, he utilized the services of his wonderful social worker at the beginning of a problem. He was able to discuss alternatives with her, and eventually got back on a diploma track.

Or take C., a student on the spectrum who insisted he didn’t need to have any friends. After he had practiced having conversations in the safety of my speech room,he began to interact with peers in short conversations.  After learning language associated with friendships and practicing what to say in response, C. proudly came to me and told me had a friend!

Get started with this Freebie!

To help you on your path, or to encourage you to take the plunge, I’m offering a sneak peek freebie from an upcoming product in my store. It is a rubric and informal assessment questionnaire to see if your students have some of the language needed to negotiate interactions with their peers. To get this freebie, just click on the cover to go to my store:  Looks Like Language.

 Social Skills Freebie from Looks Like Language

It’s no too late to check out the rest of the posts in this great blog hop! See the whole list at Speech Language Literacy Lab. Just click HERE.

Hope you had a great BHSM!

Thanks Linda for an awesome post! Learning pragmatic language skills is so important for our students, and Linda is my go-to SLP for social skills tips and resources.

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