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