February 2013 | News You Can Use

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girlsplayingSocial Skills



The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. - Ralph Nichols

Learning is a social activity, and students who have disabilities often experience challenges in socializing with peers. As Valentine’s Day approaches, school children may be surrounded by hearts and cute cartoon characters. So how can you help students with disabilities to relate and participate in these festivities with their peers?

We’ve collected helpful resources for families, early intervention providers, K-12 educators, and system administrators to support students in developing social skills.
Our best to you,

Your friends
at the National Dissemination Center
for Children with Disabilities


Social skills and academic achievement.
What does the research have to say about social skills interventions and programs for children with disabilities? This Evidence for Education reviews the findings of research and includes examples of social skills interventions that can be applied in both classroom and home settings.

Sexuality education and students with disabilities.
This resource page addresses the development of sexuality. There’s so much to know and consider on this subject-what sexuality is, its meaning in adolescent and adult life, and the responsibilities that go along with exploring and experiencing one’s own sexuality.

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Logo of the IDEA Partnership.

Social and emotional learning resources at the Learning Port.
The IDEA Partnership hosts a national online library of professional development resources compiled to help bridge research, policy, and practice. This library provides local educators with access to a variety of resources that can meet or be tailored to their needs. Follow the link below to view the resources available on behavior management. You won’t be disappointed by what you find.



Bookshare is an accessible online library for people with print disabilities.
Bookshare provides the world’s largest online library of accessible reading materials for people with print disabilities. Individuals and organizations that serve individuals with print disabilities can sign up for membership and access the library. And guess what? If you search using the term “social skills,” you’ll find lots of accessible books on the subject!

Learning difficulties and social skills: What’s the connection?
This article explores the meaning of social competence and how learning difficulties can affect a student’s ability to read social cues and respond in ways that promote relationship building. Tips for parents on how to build their child’s social skills are included.

Your child’s social and emotional skills.
The National Center for Learning Disabilities offers this rich suite of resources on social skills and young people with learning disabilities.

Helping youth develop soft skills for job success: Tips for parents and families.
This InfoBrief discusses the importance of soft skills (such as communication skills and interpersonal skills) and offers strategies that parents and families can use to help their child develop skills for employment success. Also available in Spanish.

Best Buddies.
This nonprofit organization creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships and integrated employment for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. There are almost 1,500 middle school, high school, and college chapters worldwide.

Rare Disease Day 2013.
Rare disease day is the last day of February. Join people around the world in spreading the word, sharing your story, and giving strength and hope. Here are a few resources on Rare Diseases and Disorders:

NICHCY’s Rare Disorders page

National Organization for Rare Diseases (NORD)

Rare Disease Day website

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Tips and tools for supporting social-emotional development in the early years.
From Zero to Three, this lengthy resource page offers many avenues to explore with respect to understanding and supporting healthy emotional development starting at birth.

Don’t forget about TACSEI and CSEFEL.
The Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention for Young Children (TACSEI) has taken the research that shows which practices improve the social-emotional outcomes for young children with, or at risk for, delays or disabilities and has created free products and resources to help decision-makers, caregivers, and service providers apply these best practices in the work they do every day. The Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) focuses on promoting the social-emotional development and school readiness of young children birth to age 5.

Raid TACSEI’s resources (in English and Spanish).

Raid CSEFEL’s resources (in English and Spanish).

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The teacher’s role in developing social skills.
There is much that a teacher can do to foster and promote social development in students. This article by Rich Lavoie is short and to the point.

A social skills curriculum for students with developmental disabilities.
The learning of appropriate social skills by students with developmental disabilities provides the basis for their independence in domestic, community and vocational settings. This curriculum is a tool that can be used in a school or home program to systematically improve social skills.

Social skills training can be part of therapy.
How social skills training can be used by therapists to help individuals with mental health concerns.

Teaching social skills to those who don’t have them (yet).
Lots of useful insights and practical guidance in this article.

Social skills toolbox.
From Do2Learn, this robust toolkit focuses on improving social skills, improving social behavior, and lots of graphic organizers and tools.

Check out YouTube.
Visit YouTube.com and enter the search term “social skills training.” You’ll be aghast at how many videos there are that go straight to the heart of the matter.

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What does the research say about social skills training for students with ED/BD?
There are many resources to consult when trying to answer that question! Here’s one journal article from Behavioral Disorders that reviews the many reviews on SST for students with emotional/behavioral disorders and discusses implications for practice.

More on what the research says: 8 research summaries.
Eight of NICHCY’s Research Summaries distill the findings of studies into social skills interventions for students with disabilities. You’ll find them all conveniently listed at:

PBIS World.
This website is rich with resources on positive behavioral interventions and supports, with over 200 pages of content and lots of links to worthwhile articles and tools for addressing a wide range of student behavior issues. When you enter the site (via the link below), you’ll see the many areas you can explore. “Lack of Social Skills” is one of them. But look at all the others!

Primary prevention and social skills training.
This 4-page white paper reviews the effectiveness of various approaches (including social skills training) for preventing psychopathology and for promoting positive development, especially with children and adolescents growing up in high-risk environments.

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Publication of this eNewsletter is made possible through Cooperative Agreement #H326N110002 between FHI 360 and the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) of the U.S. Department of Education. The contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government or by the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities.


Comments on our newsletter? Too long? Too short? Off-target? Right on? Suggestions for future topics? Please feel free to contact us at nichcy@fhi360.org. We’re here to help you help children with disabilities.

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NOTICE: NICHCY is going away, but its resources are not. Find hundreds of legacy NICHCY publications, as well as our training curriculum on IDEA 2004, in the Center for Parent Information and Resources' Library at http://www.parentcenterhub.org/resources. This website will remain available until September 30, 2014. After that date, web visitors will be automatically redirected to http://www.parentcenterhub.org.