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  • Writer's pictureStacy Crouse

Social Skills Activities For Teletherapy

There's no shortage of learning curves for SLPs switching to teletherapy, but finding social skills activities may be near the top of that list. The shift to virtual speech therapy may leave SLPs a little unsure of how to build a repertoire of digital activities to target social language goals.

A boy wearing a headset and participating in a teletherapy session to work on social skills

Let's get some ideas for building that toolbox of teletherapy social skills activities!

Social Skills Boom Card Activities

Boom Cards have many different features that make working on social skills digitally interactive for teletherapy students. These ever-popular activities may include real photos, movable pieces, and built-in audio to name a few. There's probably a Boom Card deck for every social skills goal, and here are a few examples:

Social Problem-Solving

I love using photos to set up realistic social scenarios, and my students respond well to them too! These social problem-solving scenarios include prompts for other social skills goals as well, including identifying the perspective of others and making inferences and predictions.

a social problem-solving boom cards activity being used on a laptop computer in a teletherapy session

Responding in Conversation

As SLPs know, many students working on social language may benefit from visuals to make abstract concepts more tangible. In addition to real photos, this Boom Card deck uses other pictures and choices to support students in identifying questions and comments.

A social conversation practice activity being used on a computer in a telepractice session

Like I mentioned, a helpful thing about Boom Card activities is that many of them include multiple choices to support students. This Functional Communication in the Community deck provides options and visuals for identifying responses.

A student doing a conversation Boom Card activity in a virtual speech therapy session

Reading Facial Expressions

This Boom Card deck is one of my favorite activities for working on understanding emotions using facial expressions. It gives students a new way to work on non-verbal communication as they "build" facial expressions of various emotions using movable eyebrows, eyes, and mouths.

A student working at a laptop in a teletherapy session to complete an activity working on understanding emotions

PDF Activities for Teletherapy

Both static and interactive PDF activities can also be presented to students in teletherapy, either through direct upload into the platform or by screensharing. This PDF targets identifying and using sarcasm and has an accompanying set of audio clips.

an SLP using a sarcasm social skills PDF activity with audio clips in a teletherapy session

PDF visuals can also be presented to students in teletherapy sessions. Examples include showing a conversation visual while engaging in discussion about weekend plans or utilizing a problem-solving graphic organizer. These visuals are so versatile for using alongside many other speech therapy materials.

Videos to Target Social Skills

PEERS® (Program for the Education and Enrichment or Relational Skills) is an evidence-based social skills program based at UCLA. On their website, they sell curriculum manuals (both physical and digital copies) and have tons of free role play videos covering topics such as conversations, teasing, arguing, humor, sportsmanship, and dating.

YouTube is a vast (and FREE) source of information sharing of many topics, including resources for social language. As a tip, use SafeShare to screen videos before using them with students.

  • The Epic or Fail series from the Ellen Show is great for making inferences and predictions, as well as identifying body language.

  • The Simon's Cat YouTube channel includes animated videos are a great way to work on humor and making inferences and predictions.

  • Many SLPs use clips of shows like "Big Bang Theory" to model various social scenarios and responses.

Conversation Activities for Teletherapy

Role Plays

Just because teletherapy takes place on computers, doesn't mean you have to use some sort of fancy digital activity at all! Conversation role playing is a great way to work on social skills within various real-life situations. You can just present the script on the screen for each person to read from.

A conversation role play activity being used on a laptop during a teletherapy session

Text Message Simulations

Of course, much of the communication that takes place between older kids these days is through messaging on their phones. This interactive PDF text message activity simulates opportunities to formulate text responses.

text message conversation activity being used on a laptop in a teletherapy session

Creating Conversational Narratives

Another idea for working on conversation skills is to narrate wordless picture books or fill blank comics. Students can work cooperatively to create a conversation by formulating each character's response. Not only does this activity work on commenting and asking questions, but it also addresses identifying the perspectives and emotions of others.

Unstructured Conversational Activities

If your students for ready for a little less structure when working on their social language goals, there are several conversation-eliciting teletherapy activities to try. Some ideas include posing poll questions, going on virtual scavenger hunts, playing a conversation game, and viewing interesting photos.

A conversation game being played on a computer during a teletherapy session

Subscription Websites for Social Skills

A few paid subscriptions have emerged over the years to help give teachers and SLPs a library of social skills materials. While I have not used any of these recently, they are worth looking into if you work on social language with several students.

  • Everyday Speech includes video lessons, games, and worksheets for a variety of social communication skills, including having conversations, regulating emotions, reading non-verbal communication, and solving problems.

  • Video Learning Squad has annual and monthly plans to their "Social Squad" curriculum which includes worksheets and videos targeting skills such as sarcasm, empathy, conversations, compromise, emotions, and idioms.

  • SEA (Social-Emotional Acuity) Bridge is a neurodiversity-affirming curriculum designed for children in kindergarten through 5th grade. It includes online modules, activities, handouts, tips, music and songs, and family resources to support students.

Social Skills Apps

Some SLPs may choose to use apps (on an iPad or other tablet) in teletherapy through screen-mirroring. While the students may not be able to manipulate the app, the pictures and text can be presented. A few social skills apps include:

Setting Social Skills Goals in Teletherapy

If you're looking for a teletherapy-friendly means of gathering student input on their own social social communication skills, try this free goal-setting activity. It'll help you identify meaningful and motivating goals to address in your virtual (or in-person) speech therapy sessions.

social skills goal setting activity being used on a computer in a teletherapy session

No one activity is going to work for all situations or caseloads, but I hope that this exhaustive list has given some inspiration for fellow teletherapy SLPs who are feeling a bit unsure of how to target social skills virtually.

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