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Chapter image Chapter 5: Strategy 3: Social skills training

Self Evaluation

Please rate yourself or a teacher you have closely observed.




3.  Provides social skills training

You help learners to establish and maintain positive interactions with others and to acquire the social skills that are appropriate to their culture.

Some learners with special educational needs will require explicit instruction in basic social skills. 


Mitchell, 2014, pp58–68.

  1. You have a clear idea as to what social skills are appropriate for learners to acquire and you have a plan for developing these.
  2. Where necessary, you teach such social skills as conversational behaviour, managing conflict, friendship skills and group process skills.
  3. You monitor learners’ social behaviour to determine goals for teaching social skills.
  4. You employ a range of approaches to teaching social skills, including direct instruction, modelling, role plays, analysis of videos and literature.
  1. All four indicators are regularly met.
  2. All the indicators are occasionally met.
  3. Some of the indicators are met.
  4. None of the indicators are met.

YouTubeYouTube links

Social skills training: Taking turns speaking. (2.05 US)

Presents role playing of poor and good turn-taking.


Social skills training for adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorders. (35.36 US)

A presentation covering social deficits in ASD, effective methods of social skills instruction and the Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS).


Reading facial cues: Social skills training for children with Aspergers and high-functioning autism.  (3.25 US)

Presents pictures portraying various feelings that could be used in classrooms.


Social skills training – Part 1. (9.15 US)

Presentation covering the history of social skills instruction, paralinguistic skills (e.g., voice volume and intonation), verbal content and expressing negative feelings.


Social skills training – Part 2.  (8.36 US)

Presentation continued. Discusses conversation skills and setting up a training course for teachers.


Social skills training – Part 3. (7.26 US)

Presentation continued. Discusses modelling social skills in role plays, corrective feedback and homework exercises.


Social skills training ­– Part 4. (10.00 US)

Presentation continued. Discusses research on social skills instruction, including proximal and distal outcomes.


websitesWeb links

Theory of mind

Theory of mind (often abbreviated ‘ToM’) is the ability to attribute mental states – beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc. – to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires and intentions that are different from one’s own.


journalsJournal links

Denham, A., Hatfield, S., Smethurst, N., Tan, E. and Tribe, C. (2006). ‘The effect of social skills interventions in the primary school’. Educational Psychology in Practice, 22(1), 33–51.

Brent Educational Psychology Service in the UK implemented two social skills training interventions to promote social inclusion in six primary schools. Analysis of quantitative and qualitative data showed positive effects of intervention on social skills and social inclusion. The effects of pupil gender and intervention type are also reported and discussed. It is concluded that social skills training is a valid approach to promoting social inclusion in diverse and challenging primary schools.

Styles, A. (2011). ‘Social StoriesTM: Does the research evidence support the popularity?’ Educational Psychology in Practice, 27(4), 415–436.

The use of Social StoriesTM appears to be popular among educational psychologists and other children’s services professionals as an intervention for enhancing the social functioning of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. This article explores and evaluates the research evidence upon which this apparent popularity is based. Several areas of significant weakness in the body of literature are identified which, it is suggested, need to be addressed through further research before this approach can be recommended as a stand-alone intervention strategy.