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Mini Social Skills Lesson - Think Before You Speak - Pocket Script

Mini Social Skills Lesson - Think Before You Speak - Pocket Script
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These pocket-sized cards are great for situations in which students with social-cognitive impairments need to have a literal script in order to carefully think through their actions and words. For students on the autism spectrum, conversation with peers can be confusing and full of perceived obstacles to arriving at a clear outcome.

The "three gates" model on these cards is attributed to a Sufi proverb: "Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates: At the first gate, ask yourself ‘Is is true.’ At the second gate ask, ‘Is it necessary.’ At the third gate ask, ‘Is it kind.’" Another way to phrase it is the old familiar adage, "If you can't say anything nice; don't say anything at all." Simple as that.

Hand out these cards to a small group or even whole class, then accompany with a mini lesson about how the words that we say have consequences. Part of social communication is realizing that both speaker and listener have perspectives and attitudes about the other. Before speaking we need to think carefully: Is what I'm about to say going to pass through all three of these gates? If not, I need to reconsider what I was about to say and either change it, save it for later, or cancel it altogether.

In implementing the cards (generalizing in a school setting) the student can simply keep a card in his or her pocket, with teacher supplying a stack for replenishing. When in a questionable situation the adult may prompt by saying "Check your pocket." This way the student is not embarrassed or corrected with undue specificity; they simply remember the script in their pocket and use it to guide their responses. An occasional modeling of 'right way vs. wrong way,' with examples on how to correct or redeem the inevitable mistake of verbalizing a less-than-ideal utterance, might help to add explicit reinforcement of these ideas. Make it fun and encourage lots of practice!
Total Pages
1 page
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N/A
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Jake Dorr

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