Although conversation skills generally develop naturally in neurotypical children, autistic children may need to be taught how to engage in conversations with the neurotypical world. How to Talk with Friends, by Janine Toole, is a step-by-step social skills curriculum that teaches conversation skills.
How to Talk with Friends: A step-by-step social skills curriculum for children with autism, by Janine Toole provides lesson plans for a 12-week social skills course that focuses specifically on conversation skills. Topics covered include discovering shared interests, topic questions, making comments, follow-up questions and comments, how to begin and end a conversation, staying on topic and changing topics, body language, and how to filter your own comments.
Benefits of “How to Talk with Friends: A step-by-step social skills curriculum”
Although the lesson plans are designed for an instructor led social skills group, I was easily able to adapt the lessons for our home environment. I felt like all of the topics covered were relevant to conversations and helped my children understand the process and components of conversations. I saw my children apply the skills learned in the home setting and with their grandparents.
Limitations of “How to Talk with Friends: A step-by-step social skills curriculum”
In order for the skills learned to generalize to new situations and environments, it is necessary to provide opportunities to practice in other settings with various people.
Final Recommendations on “How to Talk with Friends: A step-by-step social skills curriculum”
I have used a lot of social skills curriculum and books, and “How to Talk with Friends” is my absolute favorite so far. The other books we have tried have been somewhat helpful and relevant, but this book clearly laid out how to have conversations in a clear and relevant manner. I highly recommend this book for everyone teaching or working with children on the autism spectrum. I think it would also be helpful for individuals with Social Pragmatic Communication Disorder or other conditions where conversation skills may need direct instruction. Autistic adults may also find the information in this book helpful in developing conversation skills. CLICK HERE to buy “How to Talk with Friends” on Amazon.