June Newsletter | Emotional Communication

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Emotions, Behavior, and Communication:

How Do They All Connect?

Have you ever observed a child struggling to express themselves? Perhaps they shut down, or perhaps they show more visible behavioral signs of communication challenges. Thriving in a social world requires strong social and emotional skills, and behavior encompasses everything we say or do. These skills are necessary not just for navigating complex interpersonal communication: they also have been shown to improve skills in other areas including behavior and academic performance. 

How can we better help students to access and utilize the skills that enable them to communicate effectively and expressively? This month’s newsletter offers some fresh ideas, plus an exciting new announcement!

Connecting Emotions And Behavior for Students with Autism

All behaviors serve a purpose, and challenging behaviors often can indicate that a student is attempting to communicate with you or others. The triangle diagram below models a process for teaching and learning communication strategies. The process begins with learning new skills, such as what to do, through a comprehensive curriculum like STAR. Next, we add environmental and behavioral supports, such as first-then templates and routine prompts to provide new ways to help students engage with the world around them. Finally, some students may need additional assistance that comes in the form of a behavior support plan.

Communication In Social Situations 

Students with and without autism alike rely on their environments to get the most out of their learning experiences. The CASEL Guide to Schoolwide SEL reminds us, “A supportive and equitable environment in all classrooms serves as a platform for all academic, social, and emotional learning.”

Social stories and scripts in STAR, Links, and SOLS help to guide students through a wide variety of scenarios by teaching them skills for responding appropriately. Revisit an old favorite or try a new script, such as the Making a Video Call sequence strip (English|Español), and even experiment with this "SIMPLE" strategy for creating your own social scripts.

Recent masking requirements have made reading facial expressions and cues even more difficult for many students. Help them to build emotional awareness in our free Emotions with Masks cards

Announcing . . . SOLER!

Have you ever wished for a complete curriculum for teaching SEL? One that targets essential strategies for communication, self-awareness, perspective-taking, and even friendship? STAR is developing a brand-new curriculum titled SOLER (Social Learning and Emotional Regulation) that teaches nuanced SEL, including careful attention to the five domains identified by CASEL (The Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning): self-awareness; self-management; social awareness; relationship skills; and responsible decision making. Stay tuned for more updates on SOLER later this summer!
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