Chapter 6: Putting It All Together

Social Plan

At the start of thi chapter the authors present a blank Social Plan.  The first field in the Social Plan is “Objective.”  I feel like this book came along at a perfect time this school year as we are all being asked to make our Goals (whether an IEP Annual Goal, or an EdPlan Plan of Care Goal) more measurable.  When I am writing my goal, I focus on the goal and how I will keep data, how the student will show progress; but in the SOCIAL PLAN, presented by the authors, “how the learner will show progress” is the seventh field– not the second.

The plan includes:  Objective; EBP used; materials needed; location for instruction; time and frequency of instruction; “How” you will teach the skill (methods, procedures, activities); how will you know the learner is making progress, how will you help generalize the skill.

Looking at the social plan, my first thought was— I really should be completing one of these for all my students when I write my goals.  My second thought was, while we spend our time focusing on data collection (skills assessment) The authors are focused on skills instruction.

Scenario and Sample Social Plan: Foundation

Scenario 1 involves a 9-year old nonverbal girl with ASD who uses some gestures to communicate.  She appears to have self regulation.  She is unable to display shared space, shared focus, and shared pleasure, and these three skills were addressed in the plan.

Objective:  During a structured activity using highly desired items and physical prompts, Colleen will actively engage (share space, focus, and pleasure) for 2 minutes with her teaching staff 4 or more times per school day.

Evidence -based practices: Reinforcement, prompting, visual supports/boundaries

Materials: Skittles, bead stick, ball, water bottle w/colored water, structured ‘put-in’ task that makes a sound, corner space in classroom w/physical boundaries

Where to teach this skill: Coat hooks, snack table, swing set, classroom circle (places Colleen seems calm and ready to learn and is not too distracted

When and how often do you teach it?  4 times -beginning of the day,  at snack, recess, when getting ready to go home

How will you teach it? Limit space, control materials, decrease distractions, use fun and varied reinforcement

How does she show progress? Colleen is able to engage 2 minutes at least 4 times a day

How will skill be generalized? Increase frequency and duration of ENGAGEMENT opportunities, and the number of people with whom she engages

Scenario and Sample Social Plan: Lower 4

Scenario 2 involves an active 4-year old boy with ASD.  He can use the same space (proximity) for at least 5 minutes. In terms of parallel, he tolerates a skilled partner (SP) using the same materials within 5 feet, indicates that the SP is using the same materials and attends to what the SP partner is doing. At this time he is practicing indicating pleasure by facial expression.  In terms of joint attention, he attends to the same object or activity for 3 seconds and follows the SP’s direction to attend.  He is practicing initiating attention to an object of his interest, and alternating visual attention between the object of interest and the SP.

In terms of reciprocal exchange, he is practicing orienting to the SP, maintaining a brief shared focus with the SP, imitating a sound or action, and taking an offered object.  He is beginning to give an object and direct a sound or action to the SP, wait with expectation for a response, and engage in back-and-forth interaction for more than one exchange. The targets are (1) imitate others, (2) give object or direct sound, (3) wait with expectation, (4) back and forth interaction.

Objective: During a structured activity and w/2 or fewer physical prompts, Mark will actively participate in a reciprocal exchange with a peer by performing 5 object exchanges 2 times each school day.

Evidence-based practices: Reinforcement, prompting, visual supports

Materials:  Miniature cars, puzzle w/10 inset pieces, space w/decreased stimulation, 3 cube chairs and table

Where to teach this skill:  Area w/decreased stimulation in classroom where 3 chairs can be lined up w/puzzle board on table at end of line

When and how often will you teach skill?  2 times/day:after snack and before free choice  Picture schedule will indicate “social time”

How will you teach the skill? Limit space, control familiar materials, decrease distractions around Mark and peers. Begin w/Mark in middle chair. Start puzzle pieces at one end of line of chairs and pass it to Mark. W/physical support, have Mark pass it to the next child who puts it in the puzzle board on table. Continue with all pieces and fade prompting. When puzzle is finished, show all students and give them a car to play with during Free Choice.

How does he show progress? Mark is able to pass an object to a peer 5 times w/no more than 2 prompts during a structured activity.

How will skill be generalized? Fade and then eliminate prompts. Increase frequency and number of exchanges.  Increase opportunities to pass objects to include snack and lunch time. Talk to parents about doing this at home.

Scenario and Sample Social Plan: Middle 4

Scenario 3 describes an 11 year old boy who is suspected to have Autism. He is having difficulty making and keeping friends because of social deficits.

Objective:  Use appropriate volume during group discussions in class.

Evidence -based practices: Visual supports, social skills training and social narratives.

Materials: Visual of volume with movable pieces, Incredible 5 point Scale.

Where to teach this skill: Carpet area activity.

When and how often do you teach it?  3 mornings per week

How will you teach it? Social narrative with previously taught vocabulary and rewards for lowering volume.

How does he show progress? He’ll decrease his volume with a visual prompt on carpet.

How will skill be generalized? Use appropriate volume in a variety of settings.


Scenario and Sample Social Plan: Upper 4

Scenario 4 describes a 14 year old boy, Gary, with Autism. Difficulty with developing friendships, getting along with peers possibly related to poor hygiene.

Objective: Brush teeth and hair

Evidence -based practices: Reinforcement, self-management, visual supports, video model.

Materials: Written hair and teeth routine, peer-acted video model, phone with video, Star Trek magazine (reinforcement), recording chart.

Where to teach this skill: Social work session (develop and review hair/teeth routine and create/review self-management chart) one time per week.

When and how often do you teach it?  One time per week in social work session and one time per day in the morning.

How will you teach it? Intro Gary to the video model during social work session. Parents will prompt him to watch the video each morning. Gary will give self check mark when he brushes teeth/hair. Earn 5 checks, receive Star Trek magazine.

How does he show progress? Getting checks/receiving magazine.

How will skill be generalized? Parent reminder faded, replaced by beep on phone. Teeth/hair added to night routine, hair added to going out routine.

Other Uses of the Manual/Program

At the end of the chapter, we hear from a variety of people discussing the use of “The Steps to Being Social” in a variety of settings and with individuals who have diagnoses other than ASD.  I was interested in this section because the very first comment was from someone working with students who have mental health diagnoses and I too am attempting to implement the program with this type of student.  Other comments include applications for students with ADHD, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, PTSD, and developmental disabilities.  Settings discussed included, summer camp, professional training programs, early intervention programs, therapeutic foster care, juvenile justice, and — drumroll please– school based speech therapy.

To highlight a few comments I found intriguing…

The mental health clinician stated that she finds the sections on perspective taking, reading the social scene and group cooperation particularly useful.

At a summer camp for children with autism and their peers, the program specialist integrates practice activities throughout the camp sessions and uses the ENGAGEMENT FOUNDATION to peers and counselors in training.

The Physical Therapist working in early intervention, uses the FOUNDATION assessment not only to assess the readiness of her patients– but also of their parents.

The School SLP talks about using the Foundation of ENGAGEMENT model to describe to a  teacher why a successful activity that the teacher just completed was successful so that that teacher knows how to replicate it:  “by offering an activity that helped the student regulate, he was able to share space, focus and pleasure.”

–Chris Scally, Pam Schmit, and Chelsea Graham

13 thoughts on “Chapter 6: Putting It All Together

  1. Holly Hamill says:

    This chapter does indeed come in good timing! I really like the examples of how to write goals, especially the targeted behavior selections. It also helps me to see the measurable terms chosen for how to monitor progress. I really like the suggestion of designing a lesson in which the student is able to demonstrate success and then discussing with the teacher why that lesson worked for that child. Overall, I’m very happy that I chose to participate in this book study because I feel that it has contained useful information. The format of the book was very reader friendly and the topic is extremely applicable to our daily responsibilities as a school-based speech language pathologist. Two thumbs up!

  2. Liz Olson says:

    I found this book to be very helpful and finally provide real world examples that we can use in the therapy room. I love the examples of the goals and how to make them more measurable. I am very pleased to have purchased this book!

  3. Mary Gwen Walker says:

    This book has been very helpful! I really liked how the examples in this chapter provided so much more than just objectives. It made me think differently when writing my goals. I often focus on measurement, when I need to look at the bigger picture and take into consideration the skill and everything it entails.

    • Sarah Mullins says:

      I agree, it’s so easy to get caught up in the “A, B, C’s” of writing goals and objectives, this really puts everything into perspective!

  4. Mary Kivett says:

    I also thought this book was helpful and a good choice for the book study. I liked the examples of goals shared.

  5. Bridget Reece says:

    I have enjoyed and found this book very useful. I like how the skills are broken down into sub-skills with examples on how to assess. The intervention examples I have found to be extremely helpful with the break down of objective, activity, materials needed, and steps for implementation. The social plan provides a systematic way of planning your intervention.

  6. Kelsey Brown says:

    I actually really like the how the plan is so detailed to leave no room for confusion. A lot of times we may know what we want to work on, but we haven’t laid out how/where/when we’re going to teach it. Overall, this book has been very helpful in learning how to identify skills to work on and ways to actually work on those targets.

  7. Bridget Reece says:

    I found it interesting how other professionals have benefited from using the assessment and steps with a variety of children. It demonstrates how successful this program really is in helping children gain social skills.

  8. Erin Norton says:

    This chapter was helpful with practical examples to use. I also liked how other professionals (PT, mental health clinician, program specialist, etc.) were able to integrate these social skills/steps. Overall, I found this book useful!

  9. Sarah Mullins says:

    I really love the collaboration this book allows itself to. We constantly collaborate between MSD, OT, PT, School Psych, Gen Ed teachers, Admin, and myself at my school and I can’t wait to really begin implementing this with our students!

  10. Candra Grether says:

    Like others have said, I also love this book as a book study selection. Thank you, Chris and Kelly, for the suggestion! I went into this wondering if this guide COULD be useful for my students and am so thrilled that it really is. This final chapter is presented so nicely with many practical examples. Often times I feel like professional development and CEU sessions provide too much information about theories and not enough information about how to implement what was lectured on. This book should be a gold standard for those sessions — give me all of the examples and creative ideas, please! 4/4 stars.

  11. Jennifer Johnston says:

    What I appreciated so much about this book was how it helped me change my mindset and develop more reasonable expectations for students who are in such early stages of being social. My goals for students working on early communication skills were definitely too advanced. Seriously, how did I expect to address vocabulary, basic concepts, following directions, etc when a child would not tolerate being within 3 feet of me for a solid minute.
    Now, I feel better about focusing on such basic things as working up to being able to be within 5 feet of a child or sharing 3 seconds of joint attention. This has already made therapy much more enjoyable for me because I’m no longer beating myself up for not reaching too ambitious goals and I’m now able to celebrate the small successes when each of the necessary sub-skills are achieved.

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