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Text Transcript: Social Skills for Learners with ASD Part 1

- [Shelley] We're thrilled to have Dr. Carmen Hall and Dr. Kimberly Maich with us today.

Carmen is the coordinator and professor in the Autism and Behavioral Science, Graduate Certificate Program at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario.

Her work is focused on social skill research, including peer-mediated social skills in childcare, schools, and camp settings.

Also technology integration and education and early intervention.

And Carmen's bio is also on the website.

So I'll leave it to you if you'd like to read a little bit more about her research interests, but I will say that in 2013, she was named an Apple Distinguished Educator.

And in 2014, she received the college sector education award, 2015, she received the President's Distinguished Achievement Awards for teaching.

So we're thrilled to have Carmen with us and also Dr. Kimberly Maich as well.

And Kimberly is an associate professor at Memorial University in Newfoundland in the Faculty of Education.

The primary focus of her teaching, research and writing, and also service, is autism spectrum disorders in inclusive environments.

And her latest award is the Distinguished Alumni Award from Redeemer University.

And she's also registered psychologist.

And I selfishly have the privilege of working with both Kimberly and Carmen on a variety of projects.

And so I'm thrilled to be able to share their work and to bring them to you today to share some of what they want to present to you around social skills.

So I will turn it over to whoever would like to get us started today.

- [Kimberly] Thanks Shelly.

Thanks for that great introduction.

Carm and I both love working with you.

So keep doing that whenever possible.

I wanted to mention before we continue on to the specifics of today, that Shelly has said we can come back in the fall and do something else.

So if you have ideas, maybe you can send them to Shelly, of something particular that you might wanna focus in on social skills.

So one of the reasons we wanted to do this in a two part series is because we think it's really important to lay some of those foundations of just a little bit about what social skills are and are not, but also looking at that assessment piece.

So the assessments that we've chosen are not standardized normed assessments that are really formal and fancy, but are ones that you can use in everyday situations and can really help with the practicalities of reporting IEPs and all of those types of pieces.

So we're going to go through those as well.

And that doesn't mean that sometimes they don't take time and negotiation to actually get to the right answer.

I've seen certainly that happen, but I think they're very practical pieces as well.

So our title is "Everyday social skills in the everyday environment." And we're gonna talk about today, what are social skills and how do we assess them?

That's gonna be our primary focus, but we're also going to talk about some common social skills strategies.

So we're going to go down through that list of evidence-based interventions and social skills.

We're not gonna dig down deeply into a lot of them, we're gonna talk about many of them.

And then in part two, we're going to dig down deeply into the area of peer-mediated social skills interventions.

And we'll show you a lot of videos on what they look like, and do all the practical pieces of that.

So today is our foundation, and then we're going to be doing more details and specifics later.

So first of all, it's important to think of, when we think about social skills, to think about what social skills are and what they are not.

Sometimes we get messed up and think that all sorts of things are social skills when they aren't really social skills.

Like those things about, you know, keeping children out of trouble, which we're gonna mention in a little while.

So there are lots of things that we do to make our way in the world that aren't necessarily social skills.

So we really like this definition from Bellini from 2006.

And, "So social skills are socially acceptable "learned behaviors, "that enable a person to interact with others in ways "that elicit positive responses and assist that person "in avoiding negative responses." So of course we learn social skills a lot of the time by watching what's happening around us, we kind of absorbed those social skills by interacting with other people.

Some of our children and adults with social communication challenges, don't absorb things that easily, as you know from necessarily just watching them or absorbing them by seemingly osmosis.

So we might need to do some more specific teaching of what those social skills are.

Now sometimes we teach outside of a natural environment like the classroom, and then we generalize to the classroom environment.

Sometimes we can teach social skills in the natural environment and teach them with everyone and maybe provide some more intensive instruction on top of that to certain children who need it.

So we can do many different approaches, but the more of course like with everything, the more inclusively that we can approach teaching social skills, the better.

So remember when you're planning to teach social skills, that we have to ensure that the skills we're teaching, are the ones that indeed elicit those positive responses from peers.

So a common example of a social skill that's not necessarily the right one, is teaching a very small child a handshake.

Well it might be really sweet and cute, it's not that cool thing that the peers want.

So the peers are the one who know what the cool things are.

So if we're in a situation where we're teaching social skills, where other peers are around, which is helpful, they're the ones who know the cool things.

So as soon as we're a couple of years older than whatever child or adult that we're working with, we generally lose whatever the cool social skills are of that cohort.

I remember when I was teaching at Nipissing University in Brantford, Ontario, and we had come back from Christmas break, and my students who were, I mean, they weren't that much younger than I was.

In their early 20s at the time, one of them asked me how I was doing and I said, "Oh, sick. We're really sick." And he was like, "I don't understand what adults mean when they say sick." And I was like, "We're ill." And we were all ill over Christmas.

And he clearly thought that I was trying to be cool and saying you're sick and he didn't know what that meant, but then I thought, "Well, you're an adult too." So I mean, things can get really confusing if you're not in that cohort and you don't know what the heck is going on.

So that's a good lesson to remember for our little ones, 'cause the specifics of social skills and what's cool, is always changing.

And then in terms of social skills instruction, of course our goals are always varied.

So what's gonna be the focus for one person, is not necessarily going to be the focus for that next person.

So that's why another reason why social skills assessment is so important.

Many of our schools, probably yours included, all of you 482 people are probably focusing more on social, emotional learning right about now.

A lot of our schools are.

When I did my PhD dissertation 100 years ago, that was actually a lot of my focus.

'Cause I looked at that therapeutic role that teachers take on, and I didn't ever publish from it, 'cause I wanted throw it out the window by the time I had written it, but it's really interesting that I'm seeing exactly what I was talking about now, really coming to life in our schools.

So let's up the ante of it and start doing those assessments where we can, so that we can build on our social skills and easily report back on them, so we're not scrambling around at the last minute trying to say, "Okay, what do I measure? And where is it and where does my student fit?" This will give you a bit of a foundation from which to work.

So, social behaviors, the third thing to remember is they also require social cognition.

So our students are adults, our children need to be focusing on what's happening inside their head when it comes to social skills.

What do they know about social skills?

How are they trying to acquire them?

So it takes some of the energy put towards deliberate adoption of social skills.

So thinking about thinking of metacognition and what's going on with social skills.

So it's not necessarily just a matter of us modeling them, of them repeating them, absorbing a social narrative over time.

Their social cognition is important as well.

I mentioned earlier, social skills are not things that keep children out of trouble.

In the DSM-5, one of the characteristics of people with intellectual disabilities is that, that gullibility piece.

So some of our children with ASD and intellectual disabilities, other developmental disabilities, might not have the social savvy, to keep themselves out of trouble.

Not necessarily a social skill though.

Social skills tend to focus on those social relationships.

So I want you to think about a number of things as we go through this webinar today, do the person's peers use the skills that your friend teach?

If you're not actually seeing or hearing those skills that you're trying to teach, then are they really the social skills that you want to be teaching?

Do the skills you're teaching represent the dignity of the person and are they age appropriate?

So as you know, when we're working with people with disabilities at any age, one of the things that is foremost in our mind is dignity.

So are we teaching something that gives that person dignity?

Better quality of life, but also dignity.

Socially significant, but also has dignity.

Age appropriate, but also has dignity.

Okay?

And then how will this foster their interactions with their peers.

Social connections are so important.

Social communication is so important, and it lasts throughout our lives.

And this period of time, this strange period of time where we're all quarantined or self-isolating, is a great example of how it feels when we can't have those same social connections.

On any given day, I don't know about Shelly's numbers in the past, but I think it would be generally really hard to get 487 people together in one time at one point.

But right now, even though we're probably all sick of being near Zoom and doing webinars, it still gives us some semblance of a social connection, which is an awesome thing that we can at least have that.

And the last thing we want you to think about when you're teaching social skills, is are you teaching what are your rules about social skills?

Or are you actually teaching the kind of social rules that are in your environment and in your context?

So we're all biased.

Being biased is a product of living in the world and growing up how we do and having the job that we do, all those things, but it's always important to think objectively about it.

So are they my social skills or is it right for my environment?

And that ties right back into what we were talking about earlier about the peers, and all the social skills that are cool.

Carmen's gonna talk a little bit now, about some common social skills difficulties.

- [Carmen] Thanks Kimberly.

So often when we get called in to teach social skills, it's lumped under this massive umbrella.

And for any of you, who've tried to teach social skills before, you soon realize that there are 100s of different social skills happening across the school day, in a camp setting, in a school setting and even in adulthood.

And they all have their little component that combine together to make social skills.

So one of the first questions we always want to ask people is what is the primary social skill difficulty that the person is struggling with, or that you want to target?

And as you'll see, we haven't included a ton of research, but the social skill literature is really all over the place.

And part of that is because people don't always target a specific skill.

They just say, "We wanna teach good friendship skills, "or we wanna teach be a good friend." And that really doesn't show a great results.

So one thing, these are some common ones that we like to talk about, that can break down most social skills into helping you choose the intervention you want, because there's many interventions that focus on one of these.

So that nonverbal communication, I know I have never got the actual number of how much percent of our communication is nonverbal, but you hear anywhere from 60 to 90% is nonverbal.

So our facial expressions, our hand movements, our body, our posture, all of that's really important.

Social initiation.

So starting a conversation.

Many times there could be people who are very well versed in maintaining a conversation or maintaining a social interaction.

It's just starting it that might be the difficulty.

So sometimes it might not be about teaching all those skills, it might just be about starting it.

In that situation, you might go with more of a script or something like that, versus a full video model.

Or you might do a video model just for that component versus a full social skills curriculum.

Maintaining and then ending conversations is a huge one.

So reciprocity, we're gonna talk a little bit about it in our prompting section later on, and as well in our next webinar.

The back and forth nature of the conversation, is what we primarily work on in all of our research as our primary variable.

Because conversations have back and forth.

And each person's comment is then a cue, for the person to respond.

Terminating interactions can be really difficult especially for people with ASD.

I know a lot of adults I work with have ASD, their social skills have really developed and they have a great conversation.

But we go to end it, and it always feels very awkward.

So teaching that is important.

Social problem-solving is another thing that the person may have those basic social skills of communication and conversation, but problem solving when to not be taken advantage of, and what other people are thinking in that situation.

Which leads into my next line about perspective taking and self-awareness, which is often a first step, and more advanced step, right?

So depending on the functioning level of the person you're working with, you're also going to determine which ones of these you will teach.

Social anxiety is a big one and I'm gonna leave it, 'cause we're gonna talk a lot about it, in terms of they might have the skills, but the anxiety is preventing them from using it.

And then the hidden curriculum.

That's what Kimberly alluded to is those social rules that we don't necessarily teach, but people are expected to pick up in our environment.

So for any of you who want some reading on this, Brenda Smith Myles has really done the majority of work in her field.

And she talks about how, no one ever taught you that when you go into an empty classroom or an empty room that you don't sit right next to the person in the room, if they're the only person in the room.

You'd leave a couple seats or a couple of rows, but you wouldn't necessarily sit in the complete opposite either.

There's lots of many different social rules in our environments, which I feel like a lot of them might be changing now because of COVID, because going down the grocery store aisle is very different than it was a few months ago.

Okay, so then last big thing we wanna talk to you about when you're thinking about social skills before we get into our hands on pieces here is, is it a performance deficit or is it a skill deficit?

So it's super, super, super important to understand and to assess before you start teaching social skills for the individual, is it that they don't have the skill?

So many times with ASD, there's many social skills they don't necessarily have, because social communication is a big part of their diagnosis.

So we actually need to explicitly teach the skills.

And that might be very different than somebody who might have some anxiety or might have, FASD or a different diagnosis.

But people in different diagnostic categories can both fit in to both of these as well.

Or is it a performance deficit?

Is it that they have the skill and they can do it at home, or they can do it one-on-one, but they can't perform the skill in a different environment?

And so often when we've sat in on school meetings, we might hear different perspectives coming from educators, as well as parents.

And really that's helping to see, is it just a performance issue?

And if that's so, and that's why we don't see that school, it might not be that they don't do it at home, their strategy just has to change in terms of a performance social skills approach versus a skill teaching approach that's more explicit and explains actually what you wanna do.

Okay, so we're gonna be coming back to this many times in our presentation, 'cause the research shows that the most successful interventions take this into account.

So now we're gonna go through some hands on commercially available assessments that you can do that are easy to do, to start your social skills instructions, and I'm gonna hand it over to Kimberly, who's going to start explaining those.

- [Kimberly] Thanks Carmen.

Carmen I love teaching about these social assessment tools.

And one of the things I'm really excited about today, is not only being here with all of you, but is that because I couldn't travel for work because of COVID-19.

I was able to actually buy my own copies of some of these places, since you know, you can't rely on the library right now to take out books.

So I'm happy to actually be able to show you, some of the ones that I was able to purchase that we're talking about today.

So we're gonna talk about four different social skills assessments that you can choose from.

Carm and I picked our favorite as you know one does, you may like them, you may not like them.

You might like one more than the other, but all of them are certainly possibilities for you.

All of them are low cost and easily accessible.

So why would we assess social skills?

I've already talked to you a little bit about this, as we started, why on earth would we do them?

We've already talked a little bit about, because they're great for IEP.

That's a really important piece of what many of us do, and for our reporting, that's an important piece of what many of us do.

But also that meta-analysis, which is of course our research piece.

When we pull apart all the different pieces of recent research, they've demonstrated poor outcomes for school-based social skills teaching with poor generalization.

In other words, a lot of the time we're not teaching social skills really the way we should be.

So let's work on it.

And part of that is starting with assessment.

We also get better effects when we're focusing on collateral skills, like play skills and joint attention and interventions that are focusing on social skills like friendships, rather than just general social skills.

Different pieces of research and different strategies suggest different numbers.

So I'm not going to go into a whole lot of exactly how much time you need, but in general, if you do pull out settings, then you don't get generalization and maintenance that is as high.

In other words, your skills don't, the student's skills, the child's skills.

The adult's skills don't tend to generalize the different situations and don't tend to stick over time as much.

Carmen already talked about the skill deficit or the performance deficit.

So I'm not gonna focus on that.

But another piece in all of what we do of course is fidelity.

So are we following the approach that's suggested?

Are we doing it intensively enough?

Are we spending enough time with it?

So all of those little things are important starting with that foundation of assessing social skills.

So appropriate assessment is a key factor for successful social skills interventions.

And lastly, packages that do not focus on specific social skills, tend to be too indirect and subtle for those with ASD.

So Carmen mentioned some of the research we do, and right now we're doing a lot of research with "Stay, Play and Talk," which is a pure media and social skills model for young children.

So preschoolers, kindergarteners around that kind of age.

So one of the things we found out in our research, and of course you can find this out from reading the literature too, but first we have to learn by experience, is that we weren't getting good enough results with teaching stay with your friends, play with your friends and talk with your friends to the whole group in the whole classroom because we do most of our research in the inclusive classrooms.

So we did add a pull aside intensive skills teaching session just 10 minutes, three times a week with peers.

So we pull it aside inside that inclusive classroom environment, but also providing some intensive additional skills instruction, but again with peers.

So all of those lovely elements that can help.

So but to get back to our social skills assessment tools, the first one I want to mention is the social skills checklist, which is embedded in this fine book, "Social Skills Solutions." Now it's from 2002, but I wouldn't really call it out of date, it has an awesome social skills checklist embedded right in it, with instructions about how to complete the assessment.

So there's lots of other things in this book, but there's also an awesome social skills assessment that's built right in.

It's not a very expensive book.

I can't remember how much I paid for it.

I ordered it from Different Roads, but it took forever to get here given of course the COVID particular situation.

But in a typical situation, it wouldn't take you very long to get one or cost you very much.

So this is an example about what one of the social skills checklist looks like.

It's not something that's horribly complicated.

So there are different levels, for different levels of development.

So there are three different ones, level one, two, three.

So you kind of scan through them and you say, "Where do I think my student or my child or my adult "that I'm working with, where do they fit?" And then you start there.

So as we go along and get more detailed, and each of those checklists are broken down into different subcategories.

And one of the really exciting parts beyond that is, as well as each of those subcategories, and you can see them on that screenshot of one of the social skills checklist pages that's in front of you, is that you have three different options.

Can the person that you're working with do that skill in a one-on-one setting, can they do it in a group setting, and can they do it in a natural setting?

So inclusive school environment for example, if that's what you're working in.

So it gives you a lot of different variations.

And as you know, if you can even show movement from one-on-one setting into a group setting over time or over a term when you're assessing, that's a big step ahead.

So being able to capture all the different types of social skills growth is really exciting.

The second one for you today, is something that was just reprinted a couple of years ago is "Building Social Relationships" by Bellini.

And you'll see Bellini's name a lot.

When we talk about him, he comes up in our research a lot too.

So that's the "Autism Social Skills Profile," and they have made the "Autism Social Skills Profile" more standardized in this version of it.

You can also find the PDF online.

I don't know whether it's supposed to be or according to copyright, but it does exist there.

So it's at the back of this book and along with lots of other good things, and it also gives you a really comprehensive measure of that social functioning.

So it can go all the way from children and youth from age six to age 17.

So from when they enter school, close to when they might exit from school, depending on how old you are when you exit.

So it can act as an intervention planning tool, but also as a progress management tool.

So it's not one of those assessments that you can only do for example, every two years.

So it has 49 questions, but it only takes about 10 to 20 minutes to do.

And you'll rating everything on a 4 point scale as you go along.

It's a great tool.

So here are a couple of copies of what the pages look like.

So you're going to be scoring each of those on a 4 point scale.

And a reminder of the 4 point scale is right at the top to help you along never sometimes, often, very often.

And then at the end you get three scores that you add up and calculate, you get a score of social, emotional reciprocity, you get a score, of structured play activity, and then you get a score in detrimental social behavior as well.

So some of the scores you wanna see them going up, some of the scores you wanna see them going down over time.

Now Carmen's gonna talk to you about the next one.

And she's gonna talk to you about more of her favorites too.

Which are these two?

(laughs) - [Carmen] Thanks so much Kimberly.

So the two that Kimberly had were designed specifically for children with ASD.

In our research we've used them on children that have social communication difficulties as well.

But know that the differences with those compared to these, is some of those diagnostic criterias like, talk repetitively about one subject and things like that, that might be more specific to ASD or included in those, especially the second one, the Bellini one "Autism Social Skills Profile." So if you're really focused on some of those ASD characteristics that interfere with social communication, the Autism Social Skills rating scales is really good.

The two I'm gonna talk about aren't necessarily created just for people with ASD and the first one isn't at all.

So the first one is, it's a from a book called "Social Skills Training" by Susan Spence from 1996.

So it's very, oh, that's dating me a bit.

'Cause I bought it when I did my master's thesis.

(chuckles) And I still have it, unfortunately it's not in print any longer, but we have included a screenshot here of all the questionnaires we're going to talk about.

And Susan Spence has put them online for you for free on this website that's listed.

So you can download PDFs of everything I'm gonna talk about in the next little bit and you can still access it.

So it's phenomenal.

All right.

Okay, so there's four primary areas.

So this was a social skills package that was developed for children and youth, primarily youth, that had social skill difficulties, as well as a packaged manualized, 10 to 12 group setting treatment approach.

We've only used, the assessment component and I still use it quite a bit.

So the one is, the one questionnaire, is Social Competence With Peers.

As you can see the questionnaires are short.

This one only has nine questions they're all around 10 to 20 questions.

The Social Skills Questionnaire is two pages, I think it's about 20 questions.

But the Competence With Peers really looks at how do they interact with peers versus the social skills questionnaire.

It looks at those general social skills across children, adults and settings.

Assessment of perception of emotion is really neat.

So these are the two screenshots at the bottom there.

So the one assessment is facial expressions, and the other one is body language.

So I guess you can see they've blocked out the people's faces and the person has to understand or tell you, what the person's expressing.

And believe it or not, Kimberly and I have used it in quite a few different situations, where people might be socially struggling with something or it might've been a referral because the person's getting in trouble.

Also a few adolescents we've had that have gotten in trouble.

And part of it was, they weren't necessarily reading the situation correct.

They socially appeared very competent and their competence with peer score was really high, but their understanding of the body language and the facial expression was lower.

In one individual that Kimberly and I were called in, in a consultation of an adolescent boy in grade 12, who was interacting with girls in an inappropriate way.

And it was in a Christian school, so they were expelled right away.

It was interesting on the emotion cards and the body language cards, there's children and adult.

Expressions of the cards are for both, as well as male and female.

And he was able to do quite well.

I'm reading the body language and the facial expressions of the males, but not necessarily the females.

And so it was really cool to help to show the school staff that he had more exposure to males.

And so does some of this behavior was a result of not necessarily understanding it.

And so that's what we had to teach.

The last thing that we really like about this is the Social Worries Questionnaire, and that's what I had used in some of my early research.

And that really focuses on that social anxiety piece.

So going back to what the other thing is telling us, and what happened in our experience is, is it a skill deficit or is it a performance deficit?

And these two questionnaires will help you determine, is it the anxiety part, or is it the competence and the actual skill part?

The other thing we recommend is we usually have the three different questionnaires, 'cause the last one you do with the person.

There's a parent version, sorry, there's a parent version, there's a teacher version and a self-assessment.

And so what we usually do when we go to schools, and we're asked to do some type of social skills assessment and plan, is we would get everyone to fill it out and we fill it out on a grid and we show competence skill, social skills, and then the anxiety piece.

And we put it for each person.

And lots of times what we see, is we see, the parents might write social anxiety is low and the school might write it as high.

Or things like that where we see differences, and that really helps us to show what part needs to be taught.

And then we can focus on that when we develop our intervention.

The last one I wanna cover is a new one, that we've recently adopted into our repertoire.

We call yes "Socially Savvy," me and Kimberly both have it.

And this one is really neat.

It's made for young children.

There's 110 questions, it's very similar.

A lot of the categories, which will be on my next slide are similar to the social skills checklist.

You can be completed by a parent, a teacher or anyone else in their environment that gets to see their social skills and social functioning.

It's really geared towards transitioning into kindergarten, so from EIBI or something like that.

The reason that it's good for people who have had early intervention or whatnot, is it's a similar focus in the layout as the VB-MAPP and the ABLLS.

So people who are familiar with that could use that.

There's four opportunities for scoring.

It's supposed to be observed over a two week period like it's a point in time for an accurate score.

And it's a 4 point rating scale.

It measures seven different skills.

So similar as I said, joint attending, social play, self-regulation, social emotional, social language, classroom and group behavior and nonverbal.

So it focuses on seven areas.

So this is what it looks like.

So each section has 10 to 25 questions, or even less than that, some of them have six.

So you can see that on the left here, that's where you would score, what score they would get on a scale of one to four.

And those are the four opportunities there.

And then on the right there, this looks very similar to the ABLLS, for those of you who know about the ABLLS assessment.

So what you do is you score in there on what their score was, so that the more boxes that they have completed.

I'm now looking that it's probably a scale of three and I might have thought four observations and the three scales mixed up.

But nonetheless, if they got a three, the more colors that you have on that observation period, the more social skills they have in that area.

So it's really nice at a glance to see, these are the areas where they're skilled and these ones are a little more blank and where they need more growth, as well as then in multiple followup observations, you would fill those boxes in a different color to show the growth.

The other reason that I really like this manual is as you can see under each item, so this was jointed attention one, it talks about general intervention ideas, and then it provides a whole appendices of...

I think there's over 50 lesson plans that you can do that is specific to the assessment.

So Kimberly and I keep...

I sound like a broken record, and that social skills are so many and you have to do, you have to teach according to where the difficulties are.

And so this is fantastic for an early learning environment, kindergarten, grade one.

Even I would do early elementary years, and I have adapted some of these to adults.

It just needs some of that adaptations, where you actually have activities that you can do to follow up with each area.

Okay, so enough about assessments I guess.

We're pretty passionate about it because, it really gleans a lot into that general social skill difficulties that we're seeing.

So now we wanted to shift our focus to social skill interventions.

Okay?

So remember going back to this whole point that your intervention that you choose, needs to really match if it's a skill deficit or a performance deficit.

And so we've tried to take some of the interventions that we've listed here and put them into multiple categories to help you see.

Now just a little bit of a disclaimer that we are going to list quite a few strategies and touch on a few of them more in depth.

The ones that we feel that you could, are maybe not as common or that you could use some additional information on.

And then next week, the peer-mediated social skills can cover all of these areas.

And we'll go really in depth with hands on approaches, on how to train peers to help teach social skills in inclusive settings or in small groups.

So under social communication or play, and general social skills, and when you're looking at a skill acquisition difficulty.

So you know that they don't necessarily have the skill and you have to explicitly teach it.

These are from the evidence-based practices of what's been shown in social skills research as evidence-based for autism spectrum disorder.

They have been used across multiple disabilities, but as we know that a lot of the combined evidence-based practiced documents are specific for autism.

So the ones that we're recommended are modeling.

So making sure that some other people are showing them how to do the skill.

The most evidence-based approach in terms of social skills, which we're gonna touch on in a few slides, is video modeling.

Peer-mediated is also considered evidence-based and it can be used all the way from preschoolers all the way up to adulthood, and has been used with children who use Augmentative Communication, who are nonverbal and individuals who are verbal.

So we will be, that we're dedicating the whole session to that.

Prompting, we're gonna talk about scripting and social stories.

So I think we're not gonna cover that, because I think that's pretty well known of providing the social rules.

Specific social skills training groups, and we're gonna provide a couple today that are most well known and that you could buy some books on shows you're easy to do.

Structured play groups is another one that has lots of research behind, as well as parent-led interventions.

The other thing we wanna talk about in terms of skill strategies, is that there are some around hygiene, personal awareness and sexual relationships.

And we're gonna talk about two of them, the Circles Program and the PEERS Program.

And the reason we've separated them is, as Kimberly has mentioned, we do a lot of research and promotion of peer-mediated, as well as things done in inclusive settings.

And so these ones are separate because they probably wouldn't be done in that inclusive setting as much, because they are about those sensitive things that need to be kept sensitive to protect the dignity of the person.

So video modeling, I'm not sure how familiar people are with this, but as I mentioned, it has the most research as the most evidence-based practice for teaching social skills.

So really what you're doing is you're taping a model with a video recording.

I feel like from when I started to now, it's pretty easy because it can be done with a phone or a tablet right in the moment.

What we want them to do is that we want to show the person for them to be able to watch and see explicitly, what are the social skills that we're focusing on in that situation.

With video editing, you can focus in on certain things, and you can decrease distractions in the background, which is very helpful.

For example, you could zoom in on you putting the breakfast bowl in the sink after breakfast, if that's the highlight of one of your social situations.

And Kimberly and I always joke that we should probably be doing some video modeling for our husbands and other people that live with us.

I think it's Kimberly son-in-law, about some of those social skills.

So just something to think about in terms of jumping off assessment, when you're looking at the type of video modeling, there's lots to do, but you also wanna look at your assessment, to make sure that they have imitation skills before you use video modeling.

When you look at basic video modeling, do you want it to be an adult model or a peer model?

When we get into our peer-mediated webinar, we're gonna show you, and Kimberly talked about how it's really important if you're looking at reciprocity or the types of phrases or initiations that you're using peers, because they are providing the age appropriate social skills.

Like I said, I used to think I was cool when I was teaching social skills, you know in the last 10, 15 years ago.

But I've since realized now having my own children, that I don't know the social skills of what's appropriate as a six year old or a 10 year old.

And so definitely need to rely on my younger counterparts and the peers for showing that.

Something else is video self-modeling.

So you can actually take the student or your child doing the social skill, and this can be maybe more for routines or things like that, or something that maybe in a performance deficit where they don't always display it, so that they can actually see what it looks like.

This can also be used for doing it the right way and the wrong way.

Point-of-view modeling is really good for, so that involves taking the video camera.

If I was taping, I would be taping it out as I went.

So that it's what the person is seeing in those social situations.

So I will social initiation and joining in a group, you wouldn't take a video of two kids joining this way.

You might take it from the person going into the soccer game to ask if they could play.

Video prompting, which will tie into the next topic, involves breaking the scale and taking the video, and breaking it down into, with prompts and saying, "So here you do this, here you do that." You can have a narrator over top, you could have words on the screen, and then obviously there's a mixed method.

So all of those methods are appropriate.

Just make sure you think about what is the skill.

And what's the focus of this when I'm teaching it, before I start videotaping something.

I know prompting seems like a little bit basic maybe to be covered in social skills, but believe it or not, prompting is one of the most common methods used to teach social skills.

Why?

Because this conversation is happening.

What do you do with your kids that you're working with on a regular basis?

You're like, "Say hi back. Remember they just said hi to you." We're always providing cues of the social situations.

So remember, they're also known as reminders of when something like we call it the instruction or the antecedent or the Sd, produces something.

The biggest thing to remember, and when I'm teaching, I find that this takes the longest for my students to get, is that when you're talking about social skills, the hello is the cue.

So we want our kids to respond to the hello, how are you?

We want them to respond to the nonverbal of coming over here.

And so you have to really plan your prompts when you go into them.

Our number one temptation is to use a verbal prompt. He just said hi to you, say hi back." Unfortunately what happens is that, just say hi to them, they just said hi back, your prompt, now becomes what the kid responds to.

It's not paired with the hello.

So the hello has to be, we have to get a response to that.

So we have to be careful of our prompts.

And so I included this data sheet because, although it looks very complicated.

This is actually from our research when we did, when we taught peer-to-peer relationship.

And as you can see the adults, so the subject is the adult.

In this case it was an adult, not necessarily a child in this case, with what we're studying.

And then the SS was the support staff.

So in the baseline all we saw, we barely saw any peer-to-peer attractions.

We just saw adults say, "How was your weekend?" They said, "Good, how was yours?" "Good." And so we measured this for every single interaction in 15 minute periods.

As you can see what we taught the staff to do in the end, was we taught them, and we're gonna tell you how to do this, and go through most of our webinars next week on it.

We taught the support staff there to prompt the peer, to go to our person.

So we would say, "Hey, can you ask them how their weekend was?" And then all of a sudden the interaction started going from peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer.

And that reciprocity continued.

So often what happens is adults are a barrier to that.

This is our study that Kimberly was talking about in our peer-mediated research, where we would teach the whole class a strategy.

So we would teach them how to interact with each other, and we would teach them a great social skill lesson and we thought we were doing really good.

However, what we're finding as she mentioned is we weren't seeing the interactions with peers.

And so what this graph shows is the number of interactions each child had.

So there's three children.

The top was Levi, the middle of Charlotte, and the bottom is Max.

And we wanted to see how many interactions they had with peers, divided by the number of interactions with adults.

So this is the percentage of interactions they had with peers.

So we put them in pull aside groups and we gave them just a normal board game.

And as you can see on baseline, which is the part before these dotted lines for each child, you can see that their percentages are low, with mostly bit flow 20% of their interactions were with children.

So that means that 80% of their interactions were with adults.

So what we often saw was they would say to the adult, "Is it my turn?" Rather than asking a peer.

the adult would say, "It's your turn now, it's your turn." Rather than a peer saying it.

We wouldn't see the interaction of the common den, Oh, this is fun to each other.

It was all mediated by the adults.

So even though we were training the whole class in this, these lines for each child, we were teaching the whole class during the whole time each of these, when Charlotte and Max were in baseline, and their data didn't really change at all.

So even though we were teaching social skill groups, you can see when we pulled them aside and got them to play a game, it's still 20% of their interactions only happened with peers.

80% happened with adults.

So then where the dotted lines are for each kid, that is where we prompted through peers.

So we trained the adults and we said, "Okay, nope. What I need you to do, "is do not interact with the kids anymore. I want you to facilitate it and to prompt each other "on how to interact." Then all of a sudden you can see the percentages with peers went up dramatically for each kid, as we did that.

Just some quick social skills training guide.

So there's a few out there that are a bit more evidence-based than others.

There's a whole bunch of different approaches.

Usually it's about teaching a specific social skill.

So two I wanna cover today that have a lot of research behind, is the "LEGO-Based Therapy." And again, this is a book you can buy on Amazon for around $40.

So the LEGO Club is a great one and many people have used it where you bring Lego, but there's rules around the guidelines with Lego and how to interact.

And you teach that as you go, but then Lego is the facilitator.

So that one's a really great one because it takes something that many kids engage in and it provides a structure around it in terms of a structured teaching.

And "Skillstreaming" also has a lot of evidence-base behind it, and that really is a whole bunch of specific social skills around specific social skill deficits.

So if your assessment has shown that they'd have struggles initiating or responding to a comment, then you would focus on a lesson specifically on that.

So now I'm gonna pass it over to Kimberly on a few strategies for some of those more sensitive areas like hygiene, personal relationships and sexual relationships.

- [Kimberly] Thanks Carmen.

We are paying attention to the time and we know that time is drawing short.

We're gonna be starting questions and answers and not to very many more minutes.

So we are cognizant of that.

Luckily I know how to speak really quickly.

So I want to mention the Circles Program.

If we are in and non COVID life, I might say, "Hey, put up your hand if you've ever used this." The Circles Program has been around for a long time.

It's definitely a classic program, but I don't think there's one that's really replaced it since.

So the Circles Program is about teaching social boundaries.

Now that can be about social safety, it can also be about social skills.

So in this program, different colors are used for different roles, which also signify how physically close for example, somebody can get to you.

So you see it at the very bottom, that's the purple private circle Who can be in there?

Maybe your mom, maybe your dad, maybe your doctor, all the way out to that space around the edge, which is that stranger space.

And what kind of social interactions, what kind of physical interactions can you have, in that particular zone?

So it's very specific, skills instruction to help teach our children social safety, as well as social skills.

I go back to here, the fact that we always wanna teach our children about cooperation and not necessarily about compliance, because we don't want our children or adults to be compliant with everyone and everything who tells them to do something.

Then we get into problems.

So cooperation versus compliance, you probably already know is an important thing to consider.

There's also of course, the PEERS Program, which is the UCLA Program for the Educational and Enrichment of Relationships Skills.

I feel like we type all that somewhere.

It's a facilitator-led program that's designed for that group of high functioning adults with ASD that you might know.

It's 14 weeks long and is made up of 90 minute sessions and is used all over the place, has a ton of research behind it.

I know a member of the schools in my area, are choosing to use it right now too.

So it's certainly another one to pay attention to, and have a look at if you're considering a program that you wanna use on a wider basis or on a group basis for your particular environment.

In terms of performance deficit strategies, we're gonna think about just that more broadly.

So if you do have a student, child, an adult who is having difficulty using the social skills they have, and they have a performance deficit strategy, you might do some of these things.

Now these are just very broad suggestions, so you might teach about ASD for example, by what we call peer awareness or diversity activities, helping peers to become aware and accepting of students.

We're all the same, we're all different.

And there can be simulation activities as part of that.

They have to be done of course, very carefully and respectfully and people are up and down with to whether or not they're appropriate.

So that's something to think about.

I put on a picture on the slide of the diversity awareness picture books that are used in Ghana.

I went to Ghana in December in a research project, before of course all our international travel was closed down.

And these are the fascinating books that they're using.

I haven't dug deeply into all of them 'cause unfortunately they're locked up in my office at the university and I can't go there.

But I wanted to give you a hint at how the diversity teaching that we do is very contextually-based and very culturally-based.

So for example, there is a character in these books that has, I think an amputation, not when the child was born with I think, but when that came up farther along.

It's been a while since I looked at them, but that isn't something you'd necessarily emphasize in a different context.

So all of these things are very culturally bound as well.

Peer-mediated social skills is another area that you can use to help with performance deficit strategies.

And again we're spending the second half of that webinar, focusing right in on peer-mediate and social skills teaching.

Also simple changes to the environment.

So what way can you do to make the change, to make that environment feel safe for that child?

So if you're doing a presentation for example, how can, maybe you can do that presentation with a resource teacher in a different room instead of your whole class.

Any of those types of accommodations that can help make our students more comfortable.

That's just an example of one, that we can apply that kind of example to social skills as well.

In terms of students who are having some social anxiety, we can use things like "The 5-Point Scale," which again, makes anxiety or any other types of issues like that, concrete by breaking it down into colors and stages and different strategies to use to get back down to a more calm state.

Lots of us are using Zones of Regulations in schools, which is packed full of cognitive behavioral activities, Rate cards can be helpful for our students who intend to escape or avoid activities by using problem behavior.

Perhaps we can teach them to ask for a break instead.

Cognitive behavioral strategies, we already mentioned those when we talked about Zones of Regulations briefly of any types of self-management strategies, deescalation strategies can be really helpful for our students so they can learn to understand how they think and how to best support themselves as well as the educators and the clinicians who support them understanding that as well.

So that's all tied up with advocacy too and metacognition all of those good things.

In terms of performance, in terms of skills deficits too, if our students want to use these things, or we think they might be helpful, then we need to teach the skills behind them as well.

So we can use the incredible "5-Point Scale" as a teaching tool.

We can also use it to help students feel comfortable in using their social skills.

There's a whole area of mindfulness as well, which we haven't mentioned very much up until now, that ties in very well with acceptance and commitment therapy for example, that third wave of behavior management.

So we start with behavioral strategies and we go to cognitive behavioral, and then we have that third wave, which is that mindfulness piece.

Lots of us are doing mindfulness in schools for example, lots of us are doing mindfulness from a clinical perspective too.

So certainly a huge area of learning and understanding right now, lots of our students and our children, if our parents are learning mindfulness strategies in schools.

So these are all things that our children who are socially anxious or who are having social skills performance difficulties, can add into their toolbox of things that they know, and for us as well who are supporting those students.

So I wanted to give you a little hint about what's coming next is the adult-mediated and the peer-mediated piece.

Now we have, I should say Carmen has, I could say me but, we have updated these visuals recently to show a really cool teacher who's wearing his denim shorts.

She used to wear a, was it a pink dress?

So when we look at the difference between adult-mediated and peer-mediated, visuals can really help like they do with some of our very concrete students.

So in this adult-mediated approach, we see an adult is teaching social skills to the child, and then the child is using those social skills with their peers.

Okay, so we're going to adult, to child, to peers.

Now, sometimes that chain of events is not successful.

Sometimes our child didn't really learn that skill, and isn't able to generalize it to their peers.

Sometimes the child really did learn that skill, but is unable to perform it with their peers.

So again, we go back to that performance deficit strategy versus skill deficit strategy.

So adult-mediated approaches, is probably something we've all been doing for a long time.

We probably all taught social skills this way.

I know that I have.

It doesn't bring our child and our peers together as much as we would like in an authentic way, in a way that increases communication back and forth on a peer-to-peer basis.

One of the really exciting things from our last piece of research that Carmen was talking to you about, and showed you that beautiful graph was indeed that we saw the numbers and the moments and the lengths of peer-to-peer interactions going way up, when the teacher is actually stepped back from, facilitating heavily, those intensive teaching triads that we were doing for social skills.

So they didn't only stop talking as much, but they actually, physically moved a little bit out of the way as well.

So when we talk about a peer-mediated approach then, we're doing prompting through peers.

So as Carmen mentioned earlier, instead of always the adult going to the child, then the adult might ask the peer to prompt the child.

Now we're not asking the peer to tutor the child or to be the child's best friend, what we're doing is we're simply increasing interactions between the peer and the child, which is a very, very helpful thing, when it comes to social communication difficulties.

So that adult who's there being a helper and is teaching skills, is facilitating interactions, the adult is doing wonderful things many times.

So when we look at our teaching triads, before the adults moved away from adult-mediated prompting and the adult-mediated approach, they were doing great teaching, but it definitely was adult led.

So sometimes as you probably know, other peers wonder, "Why is that adult there some of the time? And why is that adult interacting so much "with that particular child or children?" And you know, "Should we not talk to that child? Should we then talk to the adults?" So it can actually sometimes act as a barrier to social interactions.

So that's what's part of what's really exciting about using a peer-mediated approach.

And I don't wanna give away too much, since we're gonna be focusing on that next time.

Carmen do you have anything to add about the basics of the adult-mediated and the peer-mediated?

- [Carmen] No, I think you covered it.

(clears throat) I think it's, although it's pretty high up, we're hoping to give you specific strategies on how to do peer-mediated.

But what we've really found is although I'm watching the chat and all these great curriculums have come up, whenever you're teaching those curriculums, just remember to always think back to what skills are you trying to teach, as well as, can I do it with peers and can I prompt peers and include peers this way?

Because I think we have to, what the research has shown and what I've learned in the last 20 years of doing social skills teaching, is doing and instructing on social skills through activities is only part of it.

That is only one component.

And so in all the years I've done it.

And even though I might still teach a specific social skill at a desk with a child once in a while, depending on the skill, I embrace the peer-mediated approach and prompting to generalize that skill, and that's where we see success.

I stopped doing the formal lessons per se, a long time ago, 'cause I wasn't seeing change.

I still use them, but it is about the prompting and getting the interactions happening and how we act as an adult and move back, that makes the difference with social skills.

And I was reviewing the literature in terms of, for this presentation as well.

There's another one I'm doing next week on this.

And really it's showing that if you want inclusion to work as well, it is about training the peers and prompting the peers.

And that's how more than just physical inclusion happens for our children's with more severe disabilities.

- [Kimberly] Okay.

So that's what we've prepared for you today, and here's a list of our references.

I know there's been lots of chat about if our slides are gonna be available, so yes they are.

Definitely we don't intend to hide this stuff away.

So Shelly, did you wanna facilitate a Q&A session?

I think you had been recording everything.

- [Shelley] Sure, I've been trying.

And there has been lots of chat and some questions about specific curriculums.

So if you have specific curriculum questions, maybe what I'll do is I'll send those off to Carmen and Kimberly an email, and they can respond to those individually if that's okay, there are just a couple of specific questions.

But then there are some general questions as well.

So there's an independent living curriculum as part of the expanded core curriculum for students who have visual impairment, it has a social skills component and also an assessment checklist.

And one of the participants is wondering if the resources that you've shared would also be valid for a student with ASD who also has a visual impairment.

- [Kimberly] Wow, that's a great question.

I actually did one of my, I should say internships or hours, my BCBA hours in the provincial school for students with visual impairments, also students who are deaf blind.

And there was a classroom with students who were visually impaired and had ASD.

And if that person who asks a question is interested in emailing me, I could perhaps facilitate a collaboration with that teacher and yourself to talk to each other too.

Because that is a very specific area, the ASD and VI area.

And I know there aren't a ton of resources.

So I think in terms of, things like the "Social Skills Solutions" piece, and "Socially Savvy" and the "Autism Social Skills Profile," I think you could still use them, and use them in an informal way which they are anyhow and always making that comment that you're certain the areas might not apply.

Because it's certainly with something like this, you don't have to use all of the pieces, except if you're counting up a particular score like in the "Autism Social Skills Profile" too.

You don't have to do that.

So if you're just looking at it as simply a checklist of, "Here's what my student can do," then it gives you the next steps.

You can remove the ones that absolutely don't apply.

Now in the one that Carmen was talking about, was it the last one Carmen, the Spence one?

If I have that name correct that I always say wrong.

Yep, the Spence one.

Now that does have certainly some visual components.

So depending on if your student is fully blind or is low vision, and if they can see those cards or not, certainly maybe you could exclude something like that, if you don't think that the student can see the specifics of those visual cards.

I know it's really challenging because for our students with visual impairments as well, because so many of the strategies that you find for kids with ASD are visual strategies.

So it can be really frustrating to try and find helpful resources in the field.

- [Carmen] And one of the questions, it was around all of those aren't standardized.

So as Kimberly mentioned, the reason we highlight these assessments is that, and somebody just asked, do you have to have special skills to administer them?

No.

They are common everyday ones.

They're for teachers, they're for interventionists, they're for parents.

You just read the instructions and use them, but you can use parts of them as Kimberly said.

So that's why we're presenting them as their hands on tools and to all of them come, actually.

Yeah, all of them have some type of curriculum with them.

And so not to take over Shelly, but someone also asked about the "Socially Savvy" since I'm on it, about would that be a good one to start with.

Again start, like that one's for early learners and a lot of social and place skills.

So if "Socially Savvy is really good for young learners, I find for ASD specific, the "Building Social Relationships" by Bellini is really good.

The Spence one is good and better for adolescents.

So it's kind of what you need for your class or the person you're working with, 'cause they all have their strengths and weaknesses for sure.

But we have used them across multiple people.

- [Kimberly] I noticed too there was a question somewhere along the line.

I think maybe here at the end about nonverbal students.

Are these appropriate, these assessments of we're ready to use for nonverbal students with ASD?

So I think for the most part, yes.

So I pulled up the manuals and I looked at some of the early parts of the checklist.

So for the Social Skills Checklist Level 1, some of the first questions are, looks when called or comes when called, initiates one to two step motor tasks, turns and orients towards the person they're making requests.

So they aren't necessarily assuming any verbal skills.

Now, as you go along to the more complex levels, level two and three for example, you're going to see more of those.

For the "Autism Social Skills Profile too, some of the early questions are, joins in activities with peers, another one is invites peers to join him or her in activities.

Now it doesn't say invites verbally, interacts with peers.

Okay, so there aren't assuming, especially the ones that are ASD focused, that your learner is verbal.

- [Carmen] You could totally do nonverbal.

There might be a few, you have to put not applicable.

But again, that's the beauty of these, is they're not standardized and you can use them across.

And someone mentioned, I think what you're referring to, is when I was talking about "Socially Savvy" and young learners.

Yeah, I would say K-6 or K-3, when you're getting to Grade 4, 5, 6 looking at some of the activities, you might just need to adapt them a bit.

I could, like I said, I've used it with adults, via general idea, I just have to adapt it.

Again the reason I like them, is it gives you a general outline and then you adapt it for the people you're working with.

That's why we don't talk a ton about those curriculums that some people have brought up, is because sometimes they don't fit your learner.

And that's the biggest with social skills we've learned, is the social skill hacks to meet the moment of where that learner's at.

- [Kimberly] Absolutely.

And some of the assessments that you probably are already familiar with, like the ABLLS or the VB-MAP, do have some social skills components built into them too.

So they do speak to social skills as well.

So we can pull some information from there as well.

- [Carmen] And I know, Chrissy was mentioning we have the "We Thinkers and the Social Explorers," and that's similar to Michelle Winner's Garcia.

I always get her name mixed up.

That stuff's all around social problem-solving.

So remember if you wanna look at Volume 1 or Volume 2 of the "We Thinkers!" Those are for kids that you're more focusing on social problem-solving through disagreements or different things like that, versus maybe some of the initiations or conversations.

So just remember the curriculum you buy needs to match what the actual deficit is, again, why you need to focus on all the different types of social skills.

- [Shelley] Thanks for all of that.

There's a really great question around your advice in using a peer-mediated approach with students whose behavior may become unpredictable, or they might be aggressive with peers.

What advice would you give around that?

- [Kimberly] That one's for you Carmen.

- [Carmen] Sorry, I couldn't unmute myself.

I kept teaching the slides, and wouldn't let me get to the mute button.

So using peer-mediated with someone who may have unpredictable behaviors has to be a consideration for sure.

When we say that you have to put more precautions in place.

However, I have found that doing it systematically and carefully, that many times that inclusion or hearing some things from peers, obviously depending on what the behavior is.

I was at camp doing a peer-mediated approach this summer with a little girl who was quite low functioning, nonverbal and would pull peers hair.

And so the staff would say, "No, we couldn't bring her." But I taught the kids who were about six or seven to say, "No, no thanks. I don't like my hair pulled." And actually some of the girls then started interacting with her and it came automatically.

I didn't say anything with their hair in ponytails.

You know what I mean?

So I have seen so many successes.

Like I remember a Grade 1 class, went back to some of the early days when I was doing this.

And we actually that time, we usually have the child with disability in the class and we make non-identifying, but this family was really struggling and asked us to talk to the peers about his unpredictable behavior.

And a lot of it was stealing toys or ripping toys, out of the kids hands.

And so had, we've trained the peers on to say, "No, thanks. That's my toy." Just something simple like that.

And I'll never forget the time he came back in the classroom after the training, and the first little girl, a Grade 1 girl who says to him, "No thanks. That's my toy." And he dropped the toy like that.

And the teacher goes, "I said that every day for months," (chuckles) you know what I mean?

So I really think it's about, in my experience it's about adapting it for that kid and starting small.

It's starting small and it just helps demystify it to the peers.

Like the more training, the better, about even making that training specific sometimes depending on parent consent or the child and explaining the behavior so that they will start to interact.

And sometimes they make a much bigger gain and you don't see the same behavior.

(chuckles) But again, you always have to think safety first.

- [Kimberly] Yeah, and with that being said too, if you are looking at being a consumer of research, I know all of our research in "Stay, Play and Talk," and "Camps on TRACKS." We'll talk about "Camps on TRACKS" next week.

Or next time I should say, Carm is talking about it a lot next week, 'cause she's doing a really big training.

But they didn't involve any children with severe behavioral issues.

- [Shelley] I just take-- (mumbles) - [Kimberly] That's all.

- [Shelley] Thank you so much for that.

There was a question about sharing assessments with parents and guardians.

Would you share the assessments?

I guess end or assessment results.

How would you go about that?

- [Carmen] We definitely do.

As you saw, most of these assessments have a parent one, and a teacher component and they're recommended for parents and teachers to fill out.

Usually when we get called in to do an assessment, we have both the family and the parent, and the school fill it out, because again we talked, not tired it too much, but it's really about the skill deficit and the performance deficit.

And if the parents are seeing that skill at home and you're not seeing at school, it might be more than even an anxiety approach rather than teaching a curriculum.

And so we always find it super helpful to have both perspectives and then to share the results.

And in many cases it has been a huge bridge between parents and school about understanding why, sometimes it becomes an argument about, "I see social skills, these social skills at home," and the school says no or vice versa.

Whereas it's been a huge bridge to say, "You know what, we're both right. But these are the strategies we have to focus "on in this environment versus this environment. And these are the skill deficits, "and these are the performance deficits." - [Kimberly] Yeah, and then if you're using pieces of these for an IPC too, you're gonna be using them and reporting on them in that sense as well.

So you don't necessarily have to write up a big report, or something like this it could be used for parts of things you're already doing - [Shelley] Excellent, thank you.

And I'm seeing one other question, and it's a timely question.

So one of our participants is wondering about the possibility of doing some of this work virtually particularly relevant now during the COVID restrictions where students have lost their connections with their peers at school.

And also if they're newcomer students and may not have any community connections already in place.

- [Kimberly] Well, I bet you're not gonna find a lot in the literature about how to teach social skills in a time of pandemic.

But one of the really interesting things that you can think about when it comes to making connections with peers virtually, is that it might be a positive that that peer is actually there and actually looking and attending to the other child.

So your are not both running around in a classroom for example, you're both there and looking at one another in theory.

So I can think there possibly has some utility to teaching some skills, even in this time when we can't be face-to-face.

But I mean, you're probably gonna be pretty creative and you probably not gonna find anything that's specific to it in literature around evidence-based interventions.

- [Carmen] Yeah, three things.

First in personal experience, I've been meaning to write this up as a blog post, when the pandemic hit, and at Fanshawe we had to go online in five days.

I was coordinating a program for adults with intellectual disabilities, where all the curriculum is modified at the college level.

And we had to put all of them online in five days and deliver the curriculum and finish their semester.

And you know what?

It was a ton of anxiety for our EAs who were like, "I don't think we're gonna be able to do this. We can barely get them to come to class to focus." They actually did better about half of them online than they did in person.

And we're thinking part of that was because the social anxiety piece was missing.

And if you look at the literature around ASD and telehealth and therapy online, A lot of people with ASD are choosing to do online therapy and there's a lot of support behind that.

So that's one thing I would think about and why?

If we have to go online in the fall, we thought about delaying our cohort, but now we're gonna go forward with it because, we have this great little piece of data that we found with 30 students.

Second thing, I have a few master's students who are gonna do just that.

We're gonna start in two weeks and bring some of our clients online and we're gonna bring their peers, and their parents are gonna be in the background and we're gonna prompt one another, just like we would at a table.

And what we did with some of our learners is we would bring like Hangman up or an online game on the computer screen, share our screen like I am with you right now.

And then as the facilitator, we are prompting each person to respond or say, "Oh, remember whose turn is it? Can you ask each other whose turn it is?" So we're trying some of that, like Kimberly said, not sure if it's evidence-based, we'll let you know how it goes.

(laughs) And I forget the third point.

So those were the main two points.

- [Kimberly] My point was the third point, (laughs) - [Shelley] Thank you so much for that.

And that sounds like a piece of research that might make a great followup discussion as we move into the fall.

So let's just plant that seed for future webinars.

So I just wanna take a minute and say thank you so much Carmen and Kimberly for joining us this afternoon from your respective locations in Newfoundland and Ontario.

We really, really appreciate it.

This has probably been the highest turnout we've had for a webinar.

And I know we have individual logins as opposed to group logins.

So I was interested to see how it was going to work with having, between five and 600 folks joining us.

And I think for the most part, other than a few little IT glitches at the beginning, I think that it's been extremely successful with this wide range and broad population, clear across the country joining us today.

So I wanna thank everyone for joining us.

I'm not going to do my usual closing.

Thank you to Kimberly and Carmen, 'cause they're gonna be back with us in two weeks.

So two weeks from today on the 28th, they'll be joining us for part two of this two part series.

And hopefully we can convince them to come back and keep joining us for a while in the future as well.

So thanks so much.

Thanks everyone for joining us, and we will look forward to seeing everyone back in a couple of weeks.

If you haven't registered for part two and you want to registration for the next two webinars.

So part two of this presentation and then a presentation on token economies in the classroom, those registrations are still open on the Autism and Education website.

So certainly do feel free to join us for those and get your registrations in as well.

Thanks so much, and we look forward to seeing everyone again in a couple of weeks.