Promoting Social Success: A Curriculum for Children with Special Needs / Edition 1

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These are the voices of real-life elementary school teachers who have used this research-based curriculum to reach a crucial goal: improving the social skills of students with mild to moderate disabilities and their peers. Field-tested with 400 elementary school students, this curriculum focuses on developing the cognitive skills behind appropriate social behavior rather than teaching children a set of specific behaviors to enact. Along with a thorough overview, teachers will get 66 activity-based lessons on social skills, organized around topics that build on each other. Students will learn to... assess their own emotional states and develop new coping mechanisms identify and interpret social cues and other interpersonal dynamics set appropriate social goals, generate problem-solving strategies, and think about the consequences of their actions consider characteristics of good friendships and explore ways to improve their relationships Each 30- to 45-minute lesson provides a list of materials, descriptions of the activities, variations for more advanced and less advanced students, and suggestions for reinforcing the skills throughout the school day. To help them implement the lessons effectively, teachers will also find student handouts, helpful illustrations, parent newsletters, and lists of additional children's books and videos. This inventive curriculum will enhance children's cognitive abilities to help them become socially successful - both inside and outside the classroom.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781557666741
  • Publisher: Brookes Publishing
  • Publication date: 12/1/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 544
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

The teaching experience of Emily Paige Rickards, M.A., ranges from fourth grade to the college level and includes the development of numerous professional development programs for teachers. She worked for many years with students with physical and mental disabilities and remains interested in education and curriculum development at all levels. After receiving her master's degree from Boston University, she worked as Research Assistant and Curriculum Specialist on the Promoting Social Success project at the Center for Social Development and Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She currently serves on the Educators Advisory Board for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; tutors adult learners in the Harvard Bridge to Learning and Literacy Program; and participates in efforts to include issues of diversity and culture in the medical school curriculum.

Gary N. Siperstein, Ph.D., is Founder and Director of the Center for Social Development and Education (CSDE) at the University of Massachusetts Boston. CSDE is a research and training institute focused on improving the social and academic adjustment of children with learning problems who are at risk for academic and social failure. For more than 20 years, CSDE has been gathering data on the social functioning of children with special needs. A professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston since 1976, Dr. Siperstein received his doctorate at the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva University. He has published approximately 100 articles, chapters, and books on the social relationships and social development of children with disabilities. He has served as associate editor and editor of national journals and has received more than 20 research grants from federal agencies, including the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the U.S. Department of Education. Dr. Siperstein received the prestigious Merit Award from NICHD for his work on the social aspects of mental retardation. Enhancing the social competence of children with disabilities in inclusive educational settings has been the focus of his most recent projects. Dr. Siperstein is presently President-Elect of the Division for Research of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).

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Read an Excerpt

Excerpted from chapter 1 of Promoting Social Success: A Curriculum for Children with Special Needs, by Gary N. Siperstein, Ph.D., & Emily Paige Rickards, M.A.

Copyright © 2004 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


Why Are Social Skills Important?

Social skills are essential to a productive and satisfying educational experience. They are the building blocks on which a child's academic success and emotional well-being are founded, and they allow students to take full advantage of classroom instruction and activities. The development of appropriate social skills becomes even more important as more and more schools welcome students with special needs into inclusive classrooms. Students with special needs must adjust to the increased complexity of social demands found in inclusive settings, and general education students must adjust to a more heterogeneous classroom environment. Unfortunately, without social skills training, students with special needs often experience social rejection or isolation.

Achieving the social competence necessary to make and keep friends can be a catch-22 situation: Without basic social skills, children are unable to make and maintain friendships; yet it is within these peer relationships that children learn and practice ways of relating to one another. Simply put, without social skills, friends are hard to make; without friendships, social skills are hard to learn. Therefore, it is essential that students who have difficulty interacting appropriately with their peers receive explicit social instruction so they can begin building and practicing the social skills necessary to form beneficial interpersonal relationships. Social skills instruction helps students reach a level of social competence that they otherwise would be unable to obtain. The Promoting Social Success curriculum is designed to teach all children the skills they need to be socially successful, with particular emphasis on children with special needs.

Every day, teachers deal with the conflicts, emotional outbursts, changing alliances, and hurt feelings that so often characterize the social interactions of children. All of these events affect, and often interrupt, student learning. The more time you take to deal with conflicts and inappropriate behavior, the less time you have to devote to teaching actual subject matter. More and more, teachers just like you are using strategies such as cooperative groups and peer tutoring to improve the academic performance of students. These teaching strategies, however, require that students be able to interact with one another in collaborative and productive ways. Without basic social skills, students are unable to benefit from these learning experiences. Social skills instruction is a way of improving both the academic and social functioning of individual students and improving the interpersonal climate of the classroom for all students.

What Makes the Promoting Social Success Curriculum Unique?

We recognize that many teachers have tried one or even several programs that focus on improving their students' ability to get along with others. However, we believe that the Promoting Social Success curriculum, with its cognitive approach to social skills development, can make a difference for your students. Riley, the student whose drawing appears on the frontispiece and back cover, had difficulty making and maintaining friends within his peer group. The sentiment expressed in his drawing and the big smiles on the faces of the boys reflect Riley's idea of how it might feel to have friends. No one, especially not a child, should go through life without knowing what it feels like to have a friend.

Teachers already usi

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Table of Contents

About the Author

An Introduction to the Promoting Social Success Curriculum

  • Appendix
I. Introductory Lessons
  • Coming Together to Form the Group
  • Introducing Role Play
  • Practicing Role Play
  • Introducing Problem-Solving Meetings
  • Practicing Problem-Solving Meetings
II. Understanding Feelings and Actions: Emotional and Behavioral Regulation
  • Using Feeling Words
  • Identifying Happy Expressions
  • Understanding Sadness
  • The Difference Between Alone and Lonely - Lonely
  • Understanding Fear
  • When Are We Suprised?
  • Understanding Love and Hate
  • Understanding Frustration
  • Understanding Anger
  • Feelings in Different Contexts
  • Different People have Different emotions
  • Understanding Emotional Intensity
  • What to Do When You Are Angry
  • Expressng Feelings in Appropriate Ways
  • Why Calming Down is Important
  • Ways to Calm Down
  • Introducing the Red Light Calming Down Steps
  • Practicing the Calming Down Steps
  • Applying the Calming Down Steps
  • Reviewing the Calming Down Steps
  • What Helps Me Calm Down?
  • Reviewing Feeling Words
III. Using Social Information: Noticing and Interpreting Cues
  • Introducing the Yellow Light Thinking Steps
  • Introducing Body Language
  • Interpreting Body Language
  • Interpreting Tone of Voice (Feelings)
  • Interpreting Tone of Voice (Sincerity)
  • Accident or on purpose?
  • Indentifying Intention
  • Is This Mean?
  • How to Tell When Someone is Busy
  • Reacting to Other People
  • Reviewing Emotional Displays
  • Reviewing Social Situations
IV. Planning What to Do: Problem Solving
  • What Does it Mean to Have Goals?
  • Identifying Goals
  • Practicing Identifying Goals- Practice
  • Generating Strategies to Solve a Problem
  • Practicing Generating Strategies
  • Generating Multiple Strategies
  • Assertive Problem-Solving Strategies
  • Using Compromise as a Strategy
  • Predicting Consesquences
  • Practicing Strategy Selection- Practice
  • Introducing the Green Light Action Steps
  • How Did it Go?
  • What to Do If We Don't Reach Our Goal
  • Applying the Problem-Solving Steps
  • Reviewing Problem-Solving Skills
V. Making and Keeping Friends: Social Knowledge
  • What Makes A Good Friend?
  • The Ups and Downs of Friendship
  • The Importance of Trust
  • Give and Take
  • Encouraging Empathy
  • Communicating With Friends
  • Dealing with Rejection
  • Sharing Hurt Feelings with Friends
  • Coping with Teasing
  • The Importance of Forgiveness
  • Keeping Friends
  • The Importance of Compliments
General Reproducibles
  • Body Language Photographs
  • Large Feeling Faces
  • Small Feeling Faces
  • Parent Newsletters
  • Role-Play Footprints
  • Stoplight Posters
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