Practical Social Skills for Special Education Students By: Brett J. Novick, MS, LMFT, CSSW

Introduction

This issue of NASET’s Practical Teacher series was written by Brett J. Novick, MS, LMFT, CSSW. Social skills are a vital component to development of well-rounded special education students. Unfortunately, though many classified students are mainstreamed academically they are often self-contained socially and bound by limited social skills. Social groups or programs effectiveness are largely determined if the skills are practical to what a student will need within the larger peer societal framework. Therefore, focus in this article is placed on what attributes are needed to "fit in" to the ever changing dynamic of the student's peer society. Specific skills such as starting and maintaining conversations, phone etiquette, as well as emotional and assertive expressions are touched upon. Accordingly, the article considers that it "takes a village" of educators and parents to provide guidance "on the spot" in social situations as they arise. Educators and parents are encouraged further to play numerous roles of educator, consultant, and guide in the environments of home, school, and the workplace.
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