The social pressure cooker that is middle school can be a challenging time for both parents and students. For students with delayed social skills, it can be even more difficult to keep up with the ever changing social landscape.
To boot, things like social media and cell phones increasingly compete for their attention. So, for those socially impacted kids, the question becomes: with such quick moving social action, how do you engage your middle schooler to practice the understanding and use of social skills?
Digital platforms like YouTube, can be an excellent way to demonstrate and talk about the social skills your child or student might be struggling with in a non-threatening, passive way. Seeing social skills in action allows the student to get a look at an entire social situation from multiple perspectives. Being able to pause a video allows you to take a closer look at body language, posture, and facial expressions and revisit what happened multiple times if needed.
Many YouTube channels, like Everyday Speech, have already created social skill content for you. Other therapists have created plays lists targeting specific skills such as perspective taking, listening skills, and conversational turn taking.
Video clips of the lovable and socially awkward Sheldon from Big Bang Theory can be used to demonstrate appropriate vs. inappropriate social skills. You and your student or child can then talk about the behavior. In addition to clips from popular TV shows and commercials that are readily available on YouTube, it can also provide a visual for skills like body language and non-verbal communication. There are YouTuber’s out there who openly talk about their struggles with social skills and provide helpful tips that may be relevant to your middle schooler.
Make sure to pre-screen videos all the way through before showing them. Not all playlists will screen out topics or subjects you find objectionable.
Post written by Speech-Language Pathologist, Leslie Janezic