Chelsea Graham has graciously shared a resource that she created to use with kiddos when discussing current events:

Chris Scally also shared some resources on the same topic:
The nursing staff at UofL Peace shared this with the Peace Academy faculty.  It’s  from NPR. and easy to use in therapy.

Onscreen version
What Kids Want To Know About Coronavirus: An Original Comic : Goats and Soda You may have heard the word “coronavirus” online or on TV. You probably have a lot of questions. Check out our comic to …


Printable to make a Foldable ‘zine:
Folding directions:  (great following directions activity)

The Oregonian/OregonLive’s event reporter, Dillon Pilorget, shows us how to make an eight-page zine – or self-published magazine – using one 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper. Read more at The Oregonian/OregonLive:

Thanks to both Chelsea and Chris for sharing these timely resources!

Kahoot Cards


We use these Kahoot cards in MSD high school classes at Shawnee. I made the cards using shapes printed, cardstock or paper, and lamination. The colors and shapes on the card answer choices match what is displayed on an iPad for answer choices in Kahoot. Classes at Shawnee typically watch CNN 10 news each morning, then do a Kahoot activity to answer questions about the news, and other questions, like “What are you looking forward to today?” with four choices: reading, math, lunch, art. Many students are able to select a Kahoot answer on an iPad, however other students need two prompted choices, or make choices using cards. Given two cards and a verbal prompt for the Kahoot question, students are able to respond by choosing a card, and a communication partner selects the student’s choice on an iPad, to allow all students to participate in the competitive Kahoot game. After choosing a card response, some students are able to select that answer on the iPad with hand-over-hand assistance.  These cards have increased student participation in their class Kahoot activity, and improved partner-assisted communication in class. Image.jpeg

–Becky Owens

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

EL resources

Jennifer Johnston shares:

I found a few resources to share with teachers who want to refer students for speech due to their English learning status. I ha€™ve always felt bad about not being able to give them the help they want, but these supports really could be immediately beneficial so it’€™s one less thing on my long SLP Guilt List.

The Essential Spanish Phrase Book for Teachers is an amazing resource and I can’€™t believe it’s free. It provides Spanish phrases/sentences that can help bridge the language gap during the typical school day and also includes a section for parent communication. Every school should know about this.

This site has a variety of Spanish/English communication boards:
From there, click on â€Spanish Manual Communication Book 48 location.€ That will take you to the Google Drive for Austin Independent where you a€™ll find multiple Spanish Boardmaker PDFs.

Also, I recently noticed that we can see EL assessment scores in Infinite Campus. From the Index tabs on the left, English Learners (EL) is under Program Participation which is under Student Information. You can see their ACCESS scores for speaking, listening, literacy, reading, and writing and look up how they align with proficiency levels which can help us determine whether their communication skills are consistent with what is expected based on the performance descriptions.

Jennifer Johnston, MS/CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist
Smyrna Elementary School

Ch. 5: Assessment

The Steps to being social helps us identify the social skills needed to for life skills. The Steps Assessment lets us know where a person is on the steps and how to support the student.

The Assessment is divided into 4 skills sets.

1. Foundation

2. Lower 4

3. Middle 4

4. Upper 4

When scoring the components of Engagement it is scored with a yes or no. The lower, middle, and upper portions are a rating of 0-3.

0- Not observed

1- Skill is being acquired

2- Uses skill intermittently

3- Uses skill across settings

The first assessment assesses Engagement, because engagement is the first step to being social. It assesses the student with a skilled partner, which can be a family member or the evaluator.

The evaluator answer yes or no to specific questions regarding self-regulation, shared space, shared focus, and shared pleasure. If the answer is a NO these areas need to be worked on before moving forward. If yes, you can move to Lower 4.

The Lower 4 Assessment focuses on Proximity, parallel, joint attention, and reciprocal exchange. These items are with a skilled partner. They are scored from 0-3.

Middle 4 Assessment:

· Can be with a Skilled Partner or Trained Peer; 0-3 scoring

· Reciprocal Exchange: Back-and-forth interaction

· Give and Take of Conversation: Sending and receiving messages on the same topic

· Perspective Taking: Being aware that others have thoughts that are different from your own

· Reading the Social Scene: Noticing, attending to the relevant, and finding one’s place

Upper 4 Assessment:

· Trained Peer; 0-3 scoring

· Reading the Social Scene: Noticing, attending to the relevant, and finding one’s place

· Group Cooperation: Having brain and body in the group, staying on topic and participating, and becoming aware of the need to be flexible with ideas

· Friendship: Noticing that someone has similarities to you, accepting their differences, and finding reinforcing ways to be together

· Growing Connections: Maintaining a relationship over time, distance, changing circumstances, and varying levels of intimacy

The STEPS Assessment Summary

· A nice visual representative of how the student scored on all of the above with room to indicate the targeted skill set and objectives (page 75).

· Interpreting the Scores A reminder that social development is a dynamic process and to keep this is mind when scoring

· Data should drive the treatment approach, inform instruction, and keep facilitators accountable

The last page of this chapter, page 77, reviews the evidence-based practices for each step.

Questions for discussion:

Which step do you currently find most of your students with social skills weaknesses needing to work on? Where do you see the fastest vs slowest progress? Thoughts on the assessment sheets? Any other thoughts?

For me (Candra), I find that most of my students spend the most amount of time working on Middle 4 skill sets (sometimes targeted via speech-language therapy or sometimes targeted via educational goals via the ECE Teacher). Phoenix has a Social Communication Program and during the class period where they all meet in a resource room, I would say that the curriculum is focused on Middle 4 skills as well (most of the time, these are not students who require speech-language therapy as a related service). As for the assessment sheets, I like that they take up only a single page each and are a quick checklist.

-Liz Olson & Candra Grether

Upper 4


What’s new with the Upper 4?

·       These are the “final steps” to building relationships, become part of community (Hard work is starting to pay off!)

·       During Middle 4, students begin to notice their social surroundings, during Upper 4 they interact

·       We begin to move from interacting with trained peers to anyone

·       Here we may “backslide” per say, as students will become nervous they may require more support, provide feedback, and incorporate more coping skills

What are the Upper 4?

·       Reading the Social Scene

o   Students begin to notice opportunities to be social (scanning)- once they see the opportunities and understand what’s happening, it decreases anxiety

o   Student become independent with coping skills and begin code switching

o   Aware of what is and is not motivating to participate

o   Becoming INDEPENDENT (yay!) in their natural environment, but keep in mind Calm+Alert=READY

·       Group Cooperation

o   Student expresses interest in and orients to the group

o   Becomes more flexible in thoughts and on topics

o   Continue to develop Executive Function (mentioned in Middle 4) to begin ending conversations

o   Grow from being “with” the group to “part of” the group

o   Realize how they may impact others’ thoughts, as well as how they can change to be part of a group

o   Develop social repair strategies

·       Friendship

o   Notice others with similar interests

o   Notice and accept differences, friends of friends, and the variety of social scenes to have friends

o   Social media may come into play!

·       Growing Connections

o   Rules continue to be explicitly stated (e.g. consent/boundaries)

o   Self-regulation strategies improve

o   Develop differing levels of intimacy

–Sarah Mullins



Growing Connections

· Represents the life-long work of maintaining a relationship over time

· Teaching the “rules” that govern adult relationship and understanding appropriate and inappropriate behaviors between social partners

· Learner begins to understand various types of friendships, personal boundaries and safety

· Being proficient at this step is where most adults aim to be social

Sub-Skills of Upper 4

· Rating scale similar to scale in Lower and Middle 4 assessing learner’s ability to assess: Reading the Social Scene, Group Cooperation, Friendship, and Growing Connections.

Evidence-Based Practice to Support Upper 4

· The learner will continue to benefit from EBP utilized in Lower and Middle 4

· Self-Management helps to promote skill development and independence by discriminating between appropriate and inappropriate behaviors for various social situations. The learner monitors and records targeted social behaviors and rewards self for meeting goals.

Sample Activities

· Activity for each Sub-skill with objective, sample activity, material needed, and steps for implementation.

· Reading the Social Scene: Activity is a calming card to allow learner to calm down and return to activity.

· Group Cooperation: Who goes first activity to allow learner to utilize skills to successfully be part of a group.

· Friendship: Having the group plan a get together by listing out: how, media, date/day, time, what each will need, what they will do, and what to bring.

· Growing Connections: Utilizing a visual organizer to list concrete ways to stay safe on college campus.

–Bridget Reece