Social skills support for SEN students

Sian Evans
12th March 2018
Group of students practising social skills reflecting key lesson ideas for students with special educational needs

Practical tips and easy-to-use activities to develop the social skills of students with SEN

For some pupils, communicating with their peers can feel like an impossible task. By offering your students practical advice and taking time to discuss their concerns, you can help them feel more prepared for daily interactions. We’ve hand-picked the following engaging resources so you can do just that.

General resources

Help reluctant speakers become more confident when sharing their thoughts or feelings by practising communication using these prompt cards. Likewise, ensure that pupils are prepared for potentially upsetting events by creating a personalised social story, with help from this template.

For a more comprehensive approach, encourage learners to work through this detailed booklet, containing a range of fun activities to help them cope with everyday situations. Plus, this detailed set of social stories is ideal for developing key skills as a whole class or within individuals.


Prompt cards for Social Skills or Circle Time

Prompt cards for you to use when delivering a Social Skills programme or Cirle Time
By mrsling

Social Skills intervention programme

This programme is a short intervention intended for children in KS1 or for those who struggle to cope in social situations.

Understanding of Social skills is an under pinning tool required throughout life. Identifying our own feelings and the feelings of others helps us to adapt in our ever changing world. It helps children work independently or within a group and react to situations appropriately.

Programme contents - This is me, Friendship web, What do you look for in a friend, Show your appreciation, Being a good sport, Being a team player, Personal Space, Your space, Blow your own trumpet, Being confident, Getting on with others, Sorry, high five certificate!

By boxoffrogsblog

Understanding emotions

Create this feelings fan, with accompanying vocabulary, to give students a simple way of expressing their emotions to others. In a similar vein, these talk cards and emotions questions are ideal for helping pupils to match emotions to particular scenarios, as well as beginning to empathise with how others might feel in those instances too.

Alternatively, support those who find it difficult to control their temper by discussing proactive strategies with this anger management worksheet.


How am I Feeling Fan

The 'How and I Feeling Fan' is a simple way for children to express how they are feeling. The fan contains 14 different faces depicting different emotions along with the matching vocabulary. The fan can be easily made by both staff and child.

*requires one paper fastener

Age 3+

Symbols Include:

Angry, WOW, Thoughtful, Surprised, Silly, Nervous, Unwell, Shocked, Sad, Happy, Cross, Pleased, Upset, Worried.
By Danny Barthorpe

Let's Talk (Speaking and Listening) Feelings

Lets talk cards which ask the do you feel when...? Explores feelings and emotions and would be great for EYFS/KS1 and for SEn as it uses widgit symbols. Brigh colourful designs make the crads a bit more engaging for group work activities.
By benpartridge

Emotions Feelings Yes / No Questions

This resource contains 24 different task cards giving students the choice of two answers - yes or no - to the question at the top. Each task card contains 1 question, 1 image and 2 answers.

The task cards are all in the theme of Feelings / Emotions.

These task cards come in col and b/w option for your preference.

They are a great way to encourage students to pay attention to detail, the image that they are looking at and to answer appropriately.

I recommend cutting out each card individually and laminating so that they will be stronger and longer lasting. Students can complete with a dry wipe pen or a peg so that they can be used again.
By TeachingAutism

Managing Anger - noting behaviour and strategies

Simple sheet that can be worked through with a pupil to help identify what happens when they feel angry and what they can do to relieve their anger. Two styles of sheets available: one with the addition of a body shape for drawing on. Both sheets available in 2 different skin tones.
By tesAutism

Interacting with others

Make pupils aware of socially-acceptable proxemics, including intimate and public spaces, so that they get to grips with the concept of boundaries using this simple activity. Once they have grasped these, use this selection of conversation starters to rehearse common interactions and help students feel more comfortable about speaking to others.  

Delve into the world of making friends, and what it means to be a friend, with this comprehensive intervention planning resource. Finally, these editable social stories, covering fundamental listening skills and self-control, are perfect for explaining appropriate behaviour in an understandable way.


Social Skills - Proxemics

Worksheets to encourage pupils to think about where to stand in relation to others in different situations. The final sheet is to cut into four and laminate for extra activities you can think of.
By lukeswillage

Friendships - conversation skills

Teaching / rehearsing conversation skills for pupils with communication and interaction difficulties.
By rshaw1812

Friendship Intervention

This pack is suitable for WHOLE CLASS as well as group work. If there are teachers out there who have children who just don’t get along then try running this as an intervention during PSHE time. Each lesson will take approximately 40 minutes to an hour.

Each lesson is based on a letter from the word FRIENDS

It is perfect for an ELSA or teaching assistant who has to work with a group of children with friendship issues.

Included in this pack:

FRIENDS certificates (children colour in a letter after each lesson and take them away at the end of the intervention).

7 planning sessions which could be done over several weeks.

40 positive friendship cards

The Key to deserving good friends worksheet

Five posters looking at skills for empathy.

Skills for empathy bookmarks for the children to take away

A ‘Friend’ venn worksheet.

Heart friends template

How to apologise bookmark for the children to take away after the lesson.

Lesson objectives:

I can find things I have in common with someone else

Children will explore interests with a person in the group or class and find common interests.

I understand that I must respect my friend.

Children will explore respectful and disrespectful behaviour towards others focusing on the playground. They will design a poster showing a respectful playground.

I understand the importance of including people in games, play, conversation and outings.

Children will play games to illustrate what it feels like to be included or not included.

I understand the importance of empathy for being a good friend and for having a good friend.

Children will learn five skills to help them develop empathy for others.

I understand why I need friends and why my friends need me.

Children will explore why they need friends. Why friends are important.

I can tell you some of my qualities for being a good friend.

Children will explore their positive qualities essential for friendship.

I can understand how important it is to say sorry if I am wrong.

Children will look at how to apologise in this lesson.
By Elsasupport

3 editable social stories

These are 3 social stories which I wrote for a child with behaviour difficulties in my class: listening quietly to the teacher, lining up nicely and being aware of friends' personal space.

They are fully editable and can be changed to suit your needs.

Hopefully they will save someone some time.
By lwhite89

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