Children's Autism Services of Edmonton conference earlier this month, I'm not so sure. Renee Attaway from Michelle Garcia Winner's team started the day long session with a description of good social skills. "The ability to adapt your behavior effectively based on the situation and what you know about the people in the situation for them to react and respond to you in the manner you had hoped." (italics mine)Do I agree with the definition of "good social skills"? After attending the annual
I feel uneasy with the last phrase. Is the ultimate goal of using social skills essentially to get what I want? Where does genuine concern for others fit in this description?
Attaway mentioned the preteen girl who rises to the position of "Queen Bee" in the classroom as a master of social skills. My experience of queen bees, both as a student and now as a parent, is not positive. Excluding others. Overt putdowns. Yet always surrounded by other girls who choose to be her friend by copying her exclusions and putdowns. I've seen the queen bee become the main reason a student with Autism differences gets sent to social skills group. Shouldn't the queen bee get sent to bullying awareness?
I appreciate the Social Thinking vocabulary and actively use it in ASDreams. Winner's book Social Behavior Mapping is on my list of recommended resources. However I'd like to see a working definition of social skills that doesn't sound like a synonym for manipulation.
What is important to you in a definition of social skills?
Special guest Lisa Waites brings music therapy to Linking Together participants today. Her thoughts as she prepared:
I just finished assembling my materials for the "Linking Together" workshop that I'm giving twice tomorrow (12:30-2:30pm and 6:30-8:30pm), and now I'm too excited about it to go to sleep. It feels like Christmas Eve, for goodness sake! This isn't going to be a typical lecture format, and I can't wait to share some highly technical music therapy mumbo-jumbo in an accessible, creative fusion of methodological scaffolding, theoretical insights, and practical musico-behavioural applications.The combination of practical, hands on strategies combined with the expertise of local professionals makes Linking Together a valuable resource and support for parents raising their Autistic children.