Social Competence Strategies for Families 4

Video Transcript

Hi I am Julie Short and welcome to the final video in the social competence strategies for family series. This episode will focus on evidence-based strategies and/or promising practices to help support families when their child or family member struggles understanding the social situation.

My younger sister gets in trouble sometimes. She has a difficult time understanding what she did wrong. When mom and I try to explain it to her, she doesn’t get it. How can I help her learn about the social situations?

Here are some strategies that will help you help your child or family member deal with situations that go wrong.

This slide describes SOCCSS which stands for Situation-Options-Consequences-Choices-Strategies-Simulation. SOCCSS is a social decision-making process designed to help individuals with ASD understand social situations. Individuals who struggle with social understanding can benefit from this problem-solving approach when learning to choose appropriate social behavior. This takes an individual through an approach for how to think through a social situation and come up with the best solution for them. Having a practice step allows them to build confidence before approaching the situation.

Here are the first 2 steps in a SOCCSS example. Hers's the situation. A child is having a difficult time with the kind of cake being served at a birthday party. He wanted white cake and was offered chocolate cake. He got really upset and acted out at the party. It also lists the options your child or family member may have to solve the problem.

Here are the next two steps followed in the SOCCSS sequence to make a good decision about what to do when you get invited to a birthday party and people have something you don’t like. The consequences step helps your family member see different things that might happen with each of the choices you identified. The choices step lets the individual decide what would be the best choice, the next best choice, and so on.

In the last two steps of the SOCCSS example, allowing the child or family member to think about strategies allows them to know what an acceptable social behavior for the situation would be and the Simulation step gives him or her a chance to practice the new skill.

Social Autopsies are used after a social situation goes wrong to help teach the individual how to handle the situation correctly the next time. Social Autopsies can also show cause and effect of the situation, use positive reinforcement, teaches problem solving framework, and utilizing pictures and/or words.

In this example, a girl kept grabbing someone’s purse while shopping with her family. The social autopsy breaks down the social situation into the steps of what happened and why the social behavior was not appropriate. This may be a tough step for the individual to identify without some help. Knowing what to do to fix what happened gives a way to feel better about it. Talking about what should happen next time gives a different way to think about the social behavior.

Here is another example of helping a young man understand it is not ok to interrupt others’ while they are talking. You can again see that coming up with the error, how to correct it, and what to do next time may take some conversation and help to identify.

Cartooning can help make abstract social situations more visual and concrete. These are some steps to follow as you try cartooning. First, you or the individual will draw what happened (or you can use one of the computer programs I will show you shortly) including speech bubbles. Also put thought bubbles where you want to gain the perspective of the individual. And then use the drawing to teach about what happened and how to make it better next time.

This is an example that shows a young man who doesn’t understand how his talking and standing up at the movie is bothering other people. You could use this to teach how other people are feeling and why, as well as what the rules are at the theatre. You could also talk about how Joey’s friend was feeling about his social choices.

In this example, you can see how Jacob was upset that his sister received a bad grade on her math paper. Jacob assumes that everyone knows how to add and that his sister is dumb. When she begins to get upset and threatens to tell mom, Jacob reacts by wanting to hit her with a bat. He is unaware of how Lily, his sister, might feel. His parents can show this strategy to show Jacob how not everyone can do the same things and how hurtful and scared his sister felt.

Here is a  technology tool that may add a different dimension to cartooning, which may appeal especially  to some individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome. MakeBelief Comics- is a website that allows you to create your own comic strip. Lots of characters to choose from and they create what the characters are saying. Fun and engaging for all ages.

The Stress Thermometer can help make the very real, but abstract idea of stress visual. It conveys the idea that there are different levels of stress between “no stress” and “most stressed ever”, an important concept for individuals with ASD to learn and understand. A stress thermometer tells us how individuals with ASD may be thinking differently about certain situations and how those situations are affecting them. What seems little to us may actually feel very stressful to them.

Here’s an example of how you might use the stress thermometer in a variety of situations. This is an example for when a family goes out to a restaurant to eat. This allows the child with Autism to share where they are in terms of the stress while dining out and then gives some options, which is shown on the right, for supports to relieve the stress.

Here are some resources that may help you gain a little more understanding of some of the strategies presented today. If you live in Ohio, these books and these dvd are available through the OCALI lending library at no cost. Click on the Lending Library button at for more information. These can be checked out in our lending library. We also want to mention, OCALI has a social competence webinar series on our website if you would like more information about social competence. In the Social Competence webinar series, we give an overview of social competence and address assessment as well as play and friendship skills, and more strategies. Just go to our website and look for webinar archive- once you click on it you will be given many choices of webinars to view.

Thanks for watching this video Social Competence Strategies for Families.

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Evidence-based strategies and/or promising practices can help family members understand a social situation when things go wrong. In this final segment, learn to use SOCCSS, social autopsies, cartooning, and a stress thermometer.

Social Competence Strategies for Families Video Series

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