What is a social coach and what do you mean by social communication/skills?
After the holiday season, at my hair appointment, I was getting my hair shampooed and engaging in the typical small talk that one does after meeting someone new.
"How was your Christmas?"
"It was good, more laid back this year which was nice. How was yours?"
"Oh nice, laid back holiday gatherings are great. Mine was good, busy but good. I'm definitely glad it's over though."
"Yes, me too."
"So what do you do?"
"I am a special education teacher. I work with students on the Autism Spectrum teaching them social skills."
"Wow! That's awesome. My brother has Aspergers. Teach social skills? How do you teach that?"
The conversation that the sytlist and I had is one example of social skills: recipricol conversation by relating and connecting to the other person. But there is so much more that is involved with what we know as 'social communication skills'. For those on the autism spectrum, social skills or socialization is one of three areas of challenge including behavior and communication/language.
When totallysocialasd.com refers to social communication skills we are combining all three areas of differences for those with autism. Social communication skills encompass emotional regulation, how a person's behavior effects others thoughts and feelings, and specific social skills such as how to start/end/keep a conversation going. As a teen social coach I focus on the following social communication skills. For us social coaches, it is top priority for all of us to teach the individual what Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is and how ASD specifically impacts them. Until the individual with autism understands themselves, especially their strengths and challenges, they are not able to successfully advocate for themselves or understand how their challenges impact those around them.
1. I have clients I only see during our weekly social communication group where we cover joint attention, specific social conflicts the clients have that week, cooperation and game playing skills along with all the skills mentioned in the attached document above.
2. I have other clients that I see twice weekly where we meet with the group one day, meet on another day that week to debrief, define and dissect the group lesson and any social feedback that was given as well as individualize the social communicaiton lesson to what is pertinent to the client at that time.
3. Another type of service I have found myself giving is the daily social coaching through texting/calls. I also see these clients during the week/month to teach new social communication skills along with processing the weekly text message communications that we have had.
Along with these three types of services there is always one constant that is intermingled through all three different types of services, parent contact/training. I had two different parents within the last two weeks contact me individually to ask for advice or get social coaching themselves so they could approach their son/daughter in a way that would calm and control the situation instead of creating more of a challenge for their child.
Thanks for taking the time to read and learn!
Autism Specialist and Social Coach, Sabra Evans