Monday, March 25, 2013

Diary of a Social Detective

Well today was a wonderful day!  I ordered a few books about 1 month ago & they finally arrived!  I almost kissed the delivery driver, but since I thought it would violate a few social morays, I didn't.  Afterall the books I was waiting for were dealing with social skills. 

The book I was most excited about was this glorious one...

I have been on the hunt for a while for a book to use in a social skills group.  I have read tons of reviews and was going back and forth between this one and SuperFlex.  I chose this one over SuperFlex because I thought it was more appropriate for my older students.  The premise of this book is that Johnny is a young man who used to be socially awkward, but applied to his detective skills to help him navigate the social maze.  Now that he is socially aware, he runs a detective business whereby he helps his not-so-knowledgable peers discover why they are less socially adept.  It provides a story to support a social scenario & then he and his peer develop solutions to the problem. 
The author even has a website where students can write in with their own scenarios:
My book is already flagged up with stickies & notes.  I have been furiously working on how my group is going to run.  I am a bit nervous about the whole thing, as I have never run a "social skills" group before.  I mean, outside of my autistic classroom.  Somehow this feels completely different, but I am really excited about it. 
While I was waiting for my book to arrive, I tried to find some activites to correspond to the book like people have for SuperFlex, but I guess since it is a book for higher level students there isn't much out there.  So today I worked on a few.  At the end of the book, there are questions that can be answered for each chapter that is read.  I took the questions and made a "worksheet".  I am also not planning on reading the book chapter by chapter.  I am starting with the most appropriate chapter for my group, which happens to be about excessive talking & misreading body language (a lot of the chapters deal with misreading body language).  This is what I have come up with so far, but I haven't used it with a group yet, so I am sure that I have some tweaking to do yet.

 I also created this page to help us with body language interpretation.
(This one is on

I plan to begin our group sessions once we return from Spring Break.  In the meantime, I hope everyone is enjoying warm weather, because it was cold and snowy here today!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Johari Windows

So one of my students and I have been working on his self-advocacy skills.  He is at that age, where it is important for him to be able to advocate for his own needs, but his parents are adamant that he not know he is autistic.  It makes it a bit challenging to not be able to label something, but I am desparately trying to honor their request.  Although, I really feel like he needs to know!  Anyway, a collegue and I were discussing self-knowledge & he suggested I look up Johari Windows.  Never having heard of them, I was a bit intrigued by them, so I looked them up.  Here is what I found:

If you remember all the way back to Biology, it might look a bit familiar.  (Think Mendeleev's peas)  The "window" is a way to define yourself both to yourself and to others.

My little friend has found this activity very challenging. We began with identifying the things that are his Open Self  and he found it easy to complete the square. I knew the other 3 squares would be a challenge for him, but I didn't think it would be so challenging. I thought that if he had some parameters, then he would surely be able to complete the Hidden Self square . It is proving to be more of a challenge than I anticipated. The good news is that we have had some productive discussions that we may not have had otherwise. The downside is that the activity is taking much longer than planned. Hopefully we will be able to complete the activity before we break for our end of term break. I really hope this helps him be able to advocate for his needs in the future!