For the Speech and Language Therapist, difficulties in the acquisition of social communication skills frequently signals the presence of a wider range of language, emotional and educational issues, all of which could be impacting on the child`s potential for independence, integration in society, educational attainment and long- term mental health.
The Social Competence and Enhancement Programme (SCAEP) was formally introduced at Shapwick School in Somerset, a specialist school for children with severe dyslexia, about 8 years ago as a weekly group session for students with identified social skills difficulties. It drew on a range of materials from published social skills, emotional literacy and pragmatics programmes and ran for two terms every year.
Many of the students have difficulties with theory of mind, but also with basic semantic issues such as categorisation, so that identifying social similarities and differences becomes a language test rather than a coping strategy.
In the current climate of continuous cost- led reform, there is a temptation to sit tight, rely on existing resources and protect our personal fields of influence. It is vital that we do not lose sight of the fact that our disciplines exist as a result of need, and that meeting those needs continues to rely on an expanding knowledge- base and willingness to share, adapt and apply principles from related fields in order to fine- tune our work and counteract some of the effects of continuous instability in the systems we live and work in.
Sandy’s workshop at this years Towards a Positive Future Conference on 16th June 2012 will outline the key features of the SCAEP programme and describe a multidisciplinary intervention which serves three purposes: 1)Taking students back through the sensory building blocks of basic social communication concepts e.g. personal space, in order to construct more complete concepts /schemas based on sensory processing of, and shared attention to, key sensory characteristics; 2) The development of sensory and language correlates (shared code) needed to describe participants’ experiences of (mis)communication and to develop verbal problem- solving strategies and an understanding of chain reactions; 3) The core language and sensory building blocks to understand analogy and metaphor, allowing students to compare how a situation appears to them and someone else, and improving our students` potential use of talking therapies e.g. CBT, family therapy etc
Book your place NOW to hear Sandy and learn about this new and exciting approach to teaching social skills.