ISBN-10:
1557666741
ISBN-13:
9781557666741
Pub. Date:
12/01/2003
Publisher:
Brookes Publishing
Promoting Social Success: A Curriculum for Children with Special Needs / Edition 1

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

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781557666741
Publisher: Brookes Publishing
Publication date: 12/01/2003
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 528
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

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).

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.

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.

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE PROMOTING SOCIAL SUCCESS CURRICULUM

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 using the Promoting Social Success curriculum have offered positive feedback about the social skills their students have acquired:

  • "[Students] have become more aware of others' feelings and consider others more frequently when working or playing in groups." —third-grade teacher
  • "[A student] has begun to socialize much more and initiate contact with her peers. Before she would spend most time by herself." —fourth-grade teacher
  • "One student was being teased by others in an inclusion class. He was able to come up with different strategies for dealing with it, which came from the lessons on teasing." —third-grade teacher

There are many social skills curricula available, but the Promoting Social Success program is unique in its cognitive approach to social skills development. Most of the curricula used in elementary school classrooms since the 1980s attempt to address specific student interactions or behaviors, such as being a good listener, appropriately entering or leaving the room, and introducing oneself to others. These curricula can be useful if you are seeking help with common classroom situations. It is impossible, however, to create lessons that address every social interaction that children may encounter. The social world of children is simply too complex and contains too many variables to cover in one, or even several, curricula.

Rather than teaching children a set of prescribed behaviors, the Promoting Social Success program takes a broader perspective and focuses on the cognitive processes behind the behaviors. Just as reading programs focus on developing word attack and decoding skills that children can apply to any text, the Promoting Social Success curriculum focuses on developing cognitive skills that children can apply to any social interaction. With practice, these cognitive processes should ultimately be performed naturally without prompting. Through this program, you can help your students develop their ability to understand the emotional states of themselves and others, to better "read" social situations, and to determine appropriate social responses. The program develops students' social cognitive skills so that they become socially attuned thinkers and independent problem solvers as they interact with their peers.

Along with its unique cognitive approach to social skills instruction, the Promoting Social Success curriculum contains other special features that you can use throughout the various lessons, all of which are found in the General Reproducibles section at the end of the curriculum:

  • Body language photographs: The body language photographs show real people expressing emotions with their bodies. The photographs allow students to identify and discuss the ways in which they can figure out what others are feeling by looking at their hands, arms, posture, and facial expressions. In combination with the feeling faces and the role-play situations (see p. 4) that are incorporated into many lessons, the body language photographs are an important tool in teaching students to correctly identify and interpret social cues.
  • Feeling faces: An important component of many lessons in the Promoting Social Success curriculum, feeling faces depict the expressions of six different emotions and six emotional states. The emotions are: happy, sad, surprised, embarrassed, frustrated, and angry. The emotional states are: lonely, confused, nervous, scared, calm, and excited. Students use these faces as they think about their own emotional state and as they learn to identify the feeling states of others. The large faces are useful for showing to classes or groups. Students can use the smaller faces to create feelings books or to display on their desks the emotion that they are currently feeling. Students should feel free to color or otherwise personalize the small feeling faces. We encourage you to begin all Promoting Social Success lessons with the question, "How are you feeling?" to get students in the habit of using these feeling faces and monitoring their internal emotional states.
  • Parent newsletters: The Promoting Social Success curriculum includes five parent newsletters. The first, Introducing the Program, is sent home to parents when you begin the curriculum; The Calming Down Steps is sent when you introduce the Stoplight Poster #1; and Figuring Out Social Situations, Problem Solving, and Friendship are sent at the beginning of each of the last three units of the Promoting Social Success curriculum. These newsletters will help parents understand the goals of the Promoting Social Success program and keep them informed about the skills and activities their child is working on. In addition, each newsletter gives suggestions for how parents can reinforce social skills at home, which is a critical part of the learning process.
  • Role-play footprints: Role play is an essential part of the Promoting Social Success curriculum. Role play allows students to act out emotions and social interactions. It allows students to practice appropriate behaviors and allows the role-play audience to practice correctly interpreting what they observe. The role-play footprints are a tool that helps introduce students to role play. Stepping on and off the footprints helps students distinguish between times a person is pretending, or role playing, and times the person is not. Using the footprints provides a concrete beginning and end to the role play. As students become more familiar with role play, and as the role plays become more complex, the footprints may become unnecessary.
  • Stoplight posters: These posters use stoplights to guide students through a series of calming down and problem-solving steps. Each student may color his or her own stoplight poster using the templates included in the General Reproducibles section at the end of the curriculum. You can display the posters somewhere in the classroom so that students can be easily reminded to "use the stoplight" when they are upset or angry. Used outside of the classroom as well, the posters create a "common language" for the school community to talk about the importance of calming down. Stoplight Poster #1 outlines the calming down steps next to the red light. The red light cues students to "Stop," "Keep Hands to Yourself," and "Take a Deep Breath." Stoplight Poster #2 outlines all of the problem-solving steps next to the yellow and green lights. The yellow light cues students to ask questions such as, "What is going on?" "What do I want to happen?" "What can I do?" The green light cues students to "Try my plan" and to evaluate the success of their plan with the question, "How did it go?" Taken as a whole, the red, yellow, and green lights provide students with a visual model for calming down and thinking through a problem before taking action.

Along with these general materials used throughout the program, many lessons incorporate other materials such as worksheets, photographs, and illustrations that are particular to that lesson — you can find these materials in the Reproducibles section for that lesson. (Please note: Many lessons require you to brainstorm various lists of ideas with your group of students [e.g., a list of feeling words, a list of times the students needed to be calmed down] &mash; we strongly encourage that you keep copies of these lists, as you will need to refer to many of them in subsequent lessons.)

For your convenience, we have included a bibliography after the General Reproducibles section at the end of the curriculum. The Promoting Social Success curriculum uses popular, age-appropriate books as a means of engaging students in social skills instruction. We recognize, however, that you may not be able to obtain every book referenced in this curriculum; therefore, we have created a list of books that deal with issues of social competence, friendship, and emotional and behavioral regulation. Using the bibliography, you will be able to substitute comparable books for the ones mentioned in the lessons.

The Promoting Social Success curriculum also uses a variety of videos as tools to examine social interaction. Video is a medium that is familiar to students, and it allows them to repeatedly view important components of social interaction such as context, body language, and tone of voice. As such, we provide multiple suggestions for video clips in each lesson that uses video. If you are unable to acquire these particular videos, however, you should feel free to substitute clips of similar interactions from other videos.

Is the Promoting Social Success Curriculum Appropriate for My Students?

The Promoting Social Success curriculum is designed to improve the social skills of students with special needs such as mild mental retardation and other learning difficulties, along with their general education peers. The program is appropriate for both self-contained and inclusive classrooms. School counselors might also find the Promoting Social Success curriculum useful for small-group sessions outside of the students' everyday classroom.

OVERVIEW OF THE CURRICULUM

The Promoting Social Success curriculum is organized into five units. Each unit focuses on a particular skill set that is necessary for appropriate social interaction. The curricular units, however, are not discrete entities. Skills that are introduced and practiced in one unit are revisited and extended in another. With the exception of Unit 5, which can be presented piece-meal throughout the curriculum if you wish, each unit builds on the last as more complex cognitive processes are addressed. The units proceed as follows (see Figure 1 for a listing of lessons by unit):

  • Unit 1 — Introductory Lessons
  • Unit 2 — Understanding Feelings and Actions: Emotional and Behavioral Regulation
  • Unit 3 — Using Social Information: Noticing and Interpreting Cues
  • Unit 4 — Planning What to Do: Problem Solving
  • Unit 5 — Making and Keeping Friends: Social Knowledge

Unit 1 — Introductory Lessons

With the lessons in this unit, you will introduce students to the Promoting Social Success program, to each other, and to role play — an important educational technique utilized extensively in the Promoting Social Success curriculum. Two lessons in this unit also outline a format for cooperative problem-solving meetings. You can implement these two lessons at any point in the curriculum to set up regular problem-solving meetings and practice addressing real classroom situations.

Unit 2 — Understanding Feelings and Actions: Emotional and Behavioral Regulation

Lessons in this unit are designed to help you increase students' emotional vocabulary. Together, you and your students will identify and practice the appropriate expression of a variety of emotions. Being able to identify one's own emotional state and express the emotions in healthy ways is a basic skill on which other skills build. Lessons in Unit 2 prepare students for the next unit in which students will be asked to perform the more difficult skills of noticing and interpreting the emotional states of others.

Lessons in Unit 2 also provide students with the framework for a method of self-control through a series of calming down steps. Behavioral regulation is an essential part of appropriate social interaction. We all have difficulty thinking clearly when we are upset. Children, especially children with mental retardation and other learning difficulties, often need explicit training on ways in which they can calm themselves down so that they can think more clearly about a problem. Lessons throughout the Promoting Social Success curriculum use the image of a stoplight to cue children to calm down, think about their situation, and solve their problem before they act. In this unit, the red light reminds students to "Stop," "Keep Hands to Yourself," and "Take a Deep Breath." The yellow and green light images will be used in subsequent units.

Unit 3 — Using Social Information: Noticing and Interpreting Cues

Lessons in this unit encourage students to pay attention to the social cues around them and provide guided practice in the interpretation of these cues. Using the yellow light on the traffic signal, you will introduce students to the beginning step of the problem-solving model ("What is going on?"). Students will gather information about social situations using the social cues around them such as body language and tone of voice. Then, students will practice interpreting the behavior of others in lessons such as Is This Mean? and Accident or On Purpose? These lessons require students to integrate the social and emotional cues that they have gathered and make decisions about another person's intent.

Unit 4 — Planning What to Do: Problem Solving

Lessons in this unit will guide you in presenting and practicing the remaining steps in the yellow light and proceeding to the green light — "Try Your Plan." Once a child has correctly "read" a social situation, the child must react appropriately. Lessons focus on identifying goals ("What do I want to happen?"), generating and selecting strategies ("What can I do?"), and evaluating problem-solving plans ("How did it go?").

Unit 5 — Making and Keeping Friends: Social Knowledge

Lessons in this unit provide you and your students with opportunities to discuss and practice the social skills necessary to be a good friend. A child's social knowledge informs all aspects of his or her social interactions. The more a student understands about appropriate behaviors, the better able he or she will be able to work cooperatively with peers and solve social problems independent of adult intervention. You will be able to present these lessons as a unit after you finish Units 1–4, or you can present individual lessons from this unit at other times according to students' needs.

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.

Table of Contents


About the Author
Preface
Acknowledgements

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
Bibliography

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