Each week in the Kids Cooperate social skills group for children with Autism and ADHD, we work on a pragmatic skill. This week, joining.
I'm sure that you've been in a social situation and recognize the feeling of looking around the room and seeing everyone already gathered into groups, discussing work, sports, and politics.
Joinin a group of people already engaged in an activity is one of the most difficult things to do because it works in three dimensions, time, space, and social. In groups we talk about the social dimension because it is a useful heuristic for understanding a landscape that can be just as unfamiliar and threatening as an extraterrestrial landscape.
I teach a three step process as part of the Social Sensory Cognition Process: center, enter, and join.
- Take a breath.
- Locate yourself in space.
- Ground yourself by dropping your weight to your lower belly.
- Look carefully at the person or group of people you are joining.
- Notice people's posture, facial expression, and proximity to each other.
- Observe context.
- Listen for tone of voice, volume of voice, and content of conversation.
- Move into proximity with the group you are joining.
- Make an observational entering comment "looks like fun!"
- Make a value adding joining comment "I just heard a story about this on the radio yesterday".
Aaron Weintraub, MS runs strength based social skills groups with a focus on children and teenagers with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Asperger's Syndrome, High Functioning Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and Shyness. Strengths-based approach in a community based setting. Groups available in Tolland, Mansfield, Willimantic, Hartford, Vernon, Manchester and Coventry Connecticut.