Social-Emotional Development

Our social skills program is geared towards increasing relatedness through small group instruction. Activities in which our students experience the enjoyment inherent in social interactions serve as the focal point of intervention.

By creating an environment where we become the chief motivating factors of interaction, our students naturally gravitate towards us, yielding heightened attention, and independent and appropriate eye contact. In this way we do not rely on, or employ external reinforcement to achieve joint attention and reciprocity; the relationships and interactions themselves become the most effective incentives and reinforces. The students ultimately perceive joy as emanating from shared experiences with social partners.

We recognize that true growth and progress cannot be achieved without fostering the social-emotional development of each child. To achieve this, we integrate variety of strategies such as direct instruction, video modeling, role playing, peer and group interactions, and social stories. These techniques provide rich learning opportunities, heightening the awareness of emotion, perspective and successful interaction.  

We build skill upon skill, layer after layer, creating a solid foundation upon which to build higher level skill sets. Our students learn to reference faces for visual cues, to read and interpret gestures and body language, and to derive intent from inflection and tone. These verbal and non-verbal nuances help one understand the intent of a speaker’s message, yielding greater communication success.

Our students learn to accept transitions and “no” responses thus minimizing meltdowns, simultaneously learning to improvise and move away from rigidity. Because we understand and value the critical role teamwork and collaboration play, we encourage our students to develop a healthy interdependence on peers, and to discuss and coordinate their movements with team members.

Equally crucial to our program is Perspective Taking and a Theory of Mind approach where our students are taught the idea that people perceive and respond to experiences in varying ways and that thoughts and emotions vary across people. In addition, we assist the students in understanding and interpreting their own emotions by providing the appropriate language.

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