In a session on Social Skills at TAER 2012, the participants were asked to brainstorm activity and lesson ideas to help incorporate social skills lessons into their instruction.  In 10 minutes, they came up with  a whole exciting range of proposals.  Maybe these ideas will help spur your creative thinking!

Miscellaneous: Table etiquette, social obligations, hosts

Dating: Expresses interest in spending time, accepts or refuses offer for a date, aware of payment options.

Social Courtesies: Compliments, thank you, apologies, introductions, telephone etiquette, answering the door


  1. Role play with teacher in classroom with phone. Script it (face to face).

  2. Call teacher/aides using a real phone at school.

  3. Call a peer  (an older student they can practice with).

  4. Record practice sessions and review.

  5. Problem solve (e.g. travel, date, time, potential wrenches: wrong numbers or answering machines)

  6. Practice other real calls on speaker phone with adult for real needs (e.g. Needing braille notetaker repair)

  7. Prepare arrangements (e.g. date, time, address, phone number, etc.) before calling to invite.

  8. Wrap up and review with teacher – How did it go? Questions?




  1. Social skills practice (e.g. When meeting someone, extend your hand and introduce yourself, “Hi. My name is Helen.”)




  1. Social skills practice (e.g. Student knocks on classroom door to ask if fellow student is ready for field trip, student knocks on front door to ask if fellow student is ready to go, etc.)




  1. Planning a field trip

  2. Student calls to make arrangements

  3. Requests information about landmarks

  4. Requests braille or large print menus

  5. Practices making reservations

  6. Ordering pizza – giving delivery address and payment arrangement


Requesting Sighted Assistance

Self-Identity: Understanding of visual impairment, awareness of personal competencies and limitations, self advocacy, appropriate assertiveness.


  1. Writing an ability statement (group or individual)

  2. Creating an “about me” video (e.g. two students Q&A)

  3. Researching their visual impairment (e.g. JAWS activity)

  4. Making a portfolio/powerpoint with information on visual impairment, modifications, adaptations (e.g. Making a student presentation for teachers during a transition time – Middle school to High school)

  5. MIVI – check for understanding via verbal explanation regarding visual impairment (activating prior knowledge)

  6. Role play (e.g. appropriate assertiveness – practicing alternatives to yelling, pushing & shoving.)

  7. Leading nonverbal communication (e.g. sign, gestures, symbols, etc.)

  8. Make a story book (e.g. Why Stacie’s Fingers See – include tools used and pictures of the eye, share with peers).

  9. List creation (e.g. What you are good/not good at, what you would like to do but feel you can’t due to limitations

  10. Self advocacy practice – Derail students’ modifications (e.g.braille or large print copy not available – problem solve).


Sharing: Possessions, interests & responsibilities



Participates in Recreational or Social Activities: Contacts others, adapts behaviors to particular situation.


  1. Asking if seat is empty at a table

  2. Asking if (s)he can join the table

  3. Following the lead of others’ conversations (chiming in)




  1. Appropriately joining a conversation

  2. Learning to decline gracefully (reduce egocentricity)

  3. Requesting to assist in planning




  1. Tea party lesson: Review the history of tea parties, attain materials (e.g. tablecloth, napkins, sugar cubes, etc.), practice appropriate attire.


Social Activities: Plays with children of similar age; goes with friends to social events; participates in clubs, lessons & organizations

Superbowl party (HS age) – create invitation list & invitations, create budget & menu (shopping list), plan transportation, secure shopping assistance, utilize optical devices to retrieve items, make purchases, reverse route, prepare food, PARTY!


Scouting – listening to activity instruction, learning pledge/motto, role playing group activities (e.g. circle time), practicing service projects (e.g. build a birdhouse – turn taking practice, planting flowers