The Social Problem-Solving Model: Promoting Greater Social Independence – Part II

In continuing our exclusive social problem-solving series, Drs. Gordon and Selbst, developers of the new POWER-Solving® Curriculum, have addressed the importance of social information processing as a framework for understanding how children and adolescents get along with their peers and adults.

The Social Problem-Solving Model: Promoting Greater Independence – Part II
Steven B. Gordon, PhD, ABPP & Michael C. Selbst, PhD, BCBA-D

Social Information Processing (SIP) is a widely studied framework for understanding why some children and adolescents have difficulty getting along with their peers and adults.

A well-known SIP model developed by Crick and Dodge (1994) describes six stages of information processing that individuals cycle through when responding to a particular social situation:

  1. encoding (attending to and encoding the relevant cues);
  2. interpreting (making a judgment about what is going on);
  3. clarifying goals (deciding what their goal is in the particular situation);
  4. generating responses (identifying different behavioral strategies for attaining the decided upon goal);
  5. deciding on the response (evaluating the likelihood that each potential strategy will help reach their goal, and choosing which strategy to implement);
  6. and performing the response (doing the chosen response).

These steps operate in real time and frequently outside of conscious awareness. Many studies have demonstrated that children and adolescents have deficits at multiple stages of the SIP model which impact their development of appropriate peer interactions and the development of aggressive behaviors (Lansford, Malone, Dodge, Crozier, Pettit and Bates, 2006).

As a result, they have difficulty attending to and interpreting social cues, adopting pro-social goals and utilizing safe, effective and non-aggressive strategies to handle conflict situations. The development of strong social skills has been shown to contribute to the initiation and maintenance of positive relationships with others.

POWER-Solving BooksThe POWER-Solving® Curriculum (Selbst and Gordon, 2012) is heavily influenced by the components of the SIP model as seen in the five steps of POWER-Solving, easily learned in the acronym POWER:

  • Put the problem into words;
  • Observe your feelings;
  • Work out your goal;
  • Explore possible solutions;
  • Review your plan

The curriculum is comprised of several modules, each with their own materials for facilitators and students. While it is critical for the student to learn the POWER-Solving® Steps first (i.e., the “toolbox”), the facilitator can determine the sequence of the subsequent modules. For example, one may prefer to move to the Anger Management module after the introduction. Alternatively, one may decide to move to Social Conversation or Developing Friendships. The goal is for students to learn valuable POWER-Solving skills that they can apply to an infinite number of social situations throughout their lives.

REFERENCES

Crick, N.R., & Dodge, K.A. (1994). A review and reformulation of social information-processing mechanisms in children’s social adjustment. Psychological Bulletin, 115(1), 74–101. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.115.1.74.

Lansford, J.E., Malone, P.S., Dodge, K.A., Crozier, J.C., Pettit, G.S., & Bates, J.E. (2006). A 12-year prospective study of patterns of social information processing problems and externalizing behaviors. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 34, 715-724.

Selbst, M.C. and Gordon, S.B. (2012). POWER-Solving: Stepping stones to solving life’s everyday social problems. Somerset, NJ: Behavior Therapy Associates.

ABOUT STEVEN B. GORDON, PHD, ABPP

Steven B. Gordon, PhD, ABPP is the Founder and Executive Director of Behavior Therapy Associates, P.A. He is a clinical psychologist and is licensed in New Jersey. Dr. Gordon is also Board Certified in Cognitive and Behavioral Psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology and is a Diplomate in Behavior Therapy from the American Board of Behavioral Psychology. Dr. Gordon has co-authored three books, published numerous articles, presented papers at local and national conferences, and served on editorial boards of professional journals. Most recently, Dr. Gordon and Dr. Selbst have co-authored the new social-emotional skills program POWER-Solving: Stepping Stones to Solving Life’s Everyday Social Problems. Dr. Gordon’s professional interests range from providing assessment and treatment for individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders, AD/HD and other disruptive behavior disorders associated with childhood and adolescence. He has co-founded and is the Executive Director of HI-STEP® Summer Program, which is an intensive five-week day program for children to improve their social skills and problem solving ability. In addition, Dr. Gordon has had extensive experience providing clinical services not only for children diagnosed with phobias, stress, selective mutism, obsessive compulsive disorders and depression, but also with adults coping with anxiety,depression and relationship difficulties. Dr. Gordon is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, and the New Jersey Psychological Association.

ABOUT MICHAEL C. SELBST, PHD, BCBA-D

Michael C. Selbst, PhD, BCBA-D is Director of Behavior Therapy Associates, P.A. He is a Licensed Psychologist and a Certified School Psychologist in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He is also a Board Certified Behavior Analyst at the Doctoral level. Dr. Selbst has co-founded and is the Executive Director of HI-STEP® Summer Program, which is an intensive five-week day program for children to improve their social skills and problem solving ability, and the Director of the Weekend to Improve Social Effectiveness (W.I.S.E.). He has extensive experience working with pre-school aged children through adults, including individuals who have social skills deficits, emotional and behavioral difficulties, learning disabilities, gifted, and children with developmental delays, including those with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. Dr. Selbst consults to numerous public and private schools, assisting parents, teachers, and mental health professionals, and presents workshops on all topics highlighted above, as well as Parenting Strategies, Depression, and Suicide Prevention. Dr. Selbst and Dr. Gordon have co-authored the new social-emotional skills program POWER-Solving: Stepping Stones to Solving Life’s Everyday Social Problems. Dr. Selbst is a member of the following professional organizations: American Psychological Association; National Association of School Psychologists; Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies; Association for Behavior Analysis International; Association for Contextual Behavioral Science; New Jersey Psychological Association; and New Jersey Association of School Psychologists.

The Social Problem-Solving Model: Promoting Greater Social Independence – Part I

This week, in continuing the spirit of Autism Awareness, we’re excited to feature a two-part expert article on a social problem-solving intervention method by Steven Gordon, PhD, ABPP, and Michael Selbst, PhD, BCBA-D, who are the founder and directors of Behavior Therapy Associates, P.A.  Here in Part I, Drs. Gordon and Selbst have addressed the outcomes of different types of social skills training and what an effective social skills teaching program encompasses in order to promote independence in learners.

The Social Problem-Solving Model: Promoting Greater Independence – Part I
Steven B. Gordon, PhD, ABPP & Michael C. Selbst, PhD, BCBA-D

Students with social skills deficits often have difficulty in many of the following areas: sharing, handling frustration, controlling their temper, ending arguments, responding to bullying and teasing, making friends, and complying with requests.

These impairments require direct instruction to address the deficits. In addition, these impairments are exacerbated for those with a mental health diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and Nonverbal Learning Disorder.

A large body of research indicates that social skills training produces short and long term positive outcomes. The improvement in social skills has many benefits: an increase in students’ positive behavior, reduction in negative behavior, improvements in academic performance, more positive attitudes toward school, and increase preparation for success in adulthood.

Children Hanging Together

Social skills learning programs have yielded significant benefits in many studies conducted to date. “The ultimate goal of a social skills program is to teach the interpersonal, problem-solving, and conflict resolution skills that students need relative to interpersonal, problem-solving, and conflict resolution interactions. In a generic sense, then, students with good social skills are unlikely to engage in inappropriate internalizing or externalizing behaviors” (Knoff, 2014). In one important meta-analysis by the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), it was concluded that social and emotional programs are effective in both school and after-school settings, for students with and without behavioral and emotional problems, for racially and ethnically diverse students from urban, rural, and suburban settings across the K-12 grade range.

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) interventions improve students’ social-emotional skills, attitudes about self and others, connection to school, and increase positive social behavior while reducing conduct problems and emotional distress. CASEL’s review also indicates that school-based programs are most effectively conducted by school staff (e.g., teachers, student support staff) and suggest that they can be effectively incorporated into routine educational practice. In light of CASEL’s positive findings, it has recommend that federal, state, and local policies and practices encourage the broad implementation of well-designed, evidence-based social and emotional programs in schools. Continue reading

Pick of the Week: ABA Curriculum for the Common Core Books for Kindergarten & 1st Grade

Use the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis in this groundbreaking curriculum to teach the Common Core state standards in special education classrooms. Available in Kindergarten and First Grade, the ABA Curriculum for the Common Core drills down into each standard and breaks it into teachable steps. This week, SAVE 15% on the ABA Curriculum for the Common Core books for Kindergarten and First Grade. Use promo code KINDERFIRST when you check-out online or over the phone: (800) 853-1057.

Programs are presented in a format that supports data collection and ease of use. Clear teaching instructions detail the Teaching ProcedureDiscriminative Stimulus, and the Materials needed for each lesson or activity. Each standard also list several targets that demonstrate the steps and goalposts needed for mastery.

What professionals have said…

“This highly organized and comprehensive curriculum is a must for all special education teachers working to implement the Common Core standards in the classroom. Every teacher and student need is anticipated and planned for. With this curriculum as a resource, the Common Core standards are no longer an obstacle, but instead an accessible program of study for all students.” — Linda McSorley, Special Education Teacher

ABA Curriculum for the Common Core is bound to be the type of reference book every special educator will be reaching for. With its comprehensive, accessible, and task-analyzed programs, ABA strategies, and data collection sheets, Sam Blanco has created a compilation dream for all educators working with children who have special needs.” — Val Demiri, PhD, BCBA-D, Adjunct Professor, Endicott College

“Different Roads to Learning and Sam Blanco have developed the first of its kind: a user-friendly manual and kit of appropriate curriculum with materials for special needs students that aligns with the Common Core. The manual includes prepared data sheets and easy-to-read curriculum sheets. …  In addition, the focus of the skills targeted are prerequisites for lifelong skills the student will need throughout their education and beyond. Utilizing the principles of applied behavior analysis, teachers will be able to use motivation and reinforcement techniques to enhance student learning.” — Cheryl Davis, Educational and Behavioral Consultant, MSEd, BCBA

Don’t forget to use our promo code KINDERFIRST to redeem your savings this week only on the ABA Curriculum for the Common Core books!

*Offer expires at 11:59pm EST on February 23, 2016. Promotion does not apply to past purchases. Be sure there are no spaces or dashes in your code KINDERFIRST at checkout! Call our friendly customer service team at (800) 853-1057 with any inquiries.

Pick of the Week: NEW! ABA Curriculum for the Common Core Kit: 1st Grade

Following up on our ground-breaking Kindergarten kit for the ABA Curriculum for the Common Core, we’re thrilled to introduce the long-awaited ABA Curriculum for the Common Core: 1st Grade. This week, we’re also offering 15% off the normal retail price – just enter our promo code 1STGRADE at checkout to redeem your savings!

Utilizing the same accessible format, this new curriculum rooted in Applied Behavior Analysis addresses each and every Common Core State Standard for 1st grade students. Created by Sam Blanco, MSEd, BCBA, this curriculum has been devised exclusively for students in special education settings using the evidence-based principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).

Just like the Kindergarten version, the ABA Curriculum for the Common Core Kit: 1st Grade contains a curriculum book that drills down into each standard and breaks it into teachable steps. Programs are presented in a format that supports data collection and ease of use. Each Common Core standard is presented on its own page with clear instructions detailing the Teaching Procedure, Discriminative Stimulus (Sd), and Materials required for teaching. Each standard lists several targets that demonstrate the component steps and skills required for mastery. Additionally, every standard page references the correlating Kindergarten standard to drill down to for students who have not met the prerequisite skills for the first grade standard. A thorough “how-to” guide presents the main tenets of ABA, giving staff an accessible understanding of:

  • Motivation and Reinforcement
  • Pairing
  • Prompting
  • Generalization
  • Natural Environment Teaching
  • Preference Assessment
  • and Data Collection

In addition, comprehensive Data Sheets are included in the curriculum guide, along with samples of how to complete them. The goal of this curriculum kit is to make the Common Core standards accessible and relevant to students with autism and special needs.

Don’t forget to redeem your savings this week on the brand-new ABA Curriculum for the Common Core Kit: 1st Grade. Just mention or enter our promo code 1STGRADE when you check out with us online or over the phone!

Pick of the Week: Unstuck & On Target! – An Executive Function Curriculum to Improve Flexibility for Children with ASD

For students with autism spectrum disorders, problems with flexibility and goal-directed behavior can be a major obstacle to success in school and in life. Unstuck & On Target! – a robust classroom-based curriculum book – will help educators and service providers teach these executive function skills to high-functioning students with autism through ready-to-use lessons that promote cognitive and behavioral flexibility. This week, you can save 15%* on Unstuck & On Target! by applying promo code UNSTUCK at check-out!

This curriculum gives clear instructions, materials lists, modifications for each lesson, and intervention tips to reinforce lessons throughout the school day. Topics include:

  • flexibility vocabulary
  • coping strategies
  • setting goals
  • flexibility in friendship
  • and more

…all introduced and reinforced with evidence-based lessons. Lessons will target specific skills, free up the instructor’s time, fit easily into any curriculum, ensure generalization to strengthen home-school connection, and best of all, make learning fun and engaging for students in the classroom. Unstuck & On Target! also comes with an accompanying CD-ROM that contains printable game cards, student worksheets, and other materials for each lesson. This curriculum is targeted for students with cognitive ability and language skills ages 8–11.

Written by Lynn Cannon, Lauren Kenworthy, Katie C. Alexander, Monica Adler Werner, and Laura Anthony. Software operating requirements: Windows 95+ and up, Mac OS 8.6 and up.

Don’t forget to use our promo code UNSTUCK at check-out this week to take 15%* off your order of this new curriculum!

*Offer is valid until 11:59pm EST on October 6th, 2015. Not compatible with any other offers. Be sure there are no spaces or dashes in your code at checkout!

Pick of the Week: NEW Curriculum – “Teaching the Basics of Theory of Mind”

Using principles from cognitive behavioral therapy, this evidence-based curriculum Teaching the Basics of Theory of Mind by Kirstina Ordetx, PhD, is designed to enhance social understanding in children with autism or other social challenges. With lesson plans, activity ideas, worksheets, reproducible flashcards, and reinforcement activities for use at home, this curriculum is ideal for use with children who demonstrate challenges with the prerequisite skills, leading to successful social relationships and situations.

This week only, you can save 15%* on your order of Teaching the Basics of Theory of Mind by using our promo code TOM15 when you check out online or over the phone with us!

This curriculum includes 42 unlabeled Feelings Photo Cards (Student’s set), 42 labeled Feelings Photo Cards (Instructor’s set), 28 Feelings Word Cards, 8 Follow the Eye Picture Cards, 12 Riddle Cards, 4 Picture Clue Cards, 8 “As If” Cards, 7 Point of View Prompt Cards, and 9 Me vs. We Cards.

*Offer is valid until 11:59pm EST on April 7th, 2015. Not compatible with any other offers. Be sure there are no spaces or dashes in your code at check out!

+steps Program Cultivates Social and Executive Planning Skills in Students with Autism

Link

We’ve always believed in the importance of nurturing independence in our students. When we came across this article in the Lowell Sun, we found it a great opportunity to share how one school district is cultivating its autism curriculum to help their students towards achieving independence.

+steps (read: Positive Steps) is a program within the North Middlesex Regional School District in Pepperell, MA that helps over 600 students with autism and other developmental disabilities develop social and executive planning skills with various activities of daily living, from going out to local supermarkets to learn how to shop, to preparing meals for assisted living residents, and to creating podcasts to improve on public speaking skills.

Read the full article here

Introducing the Eden Autism Services Assessment & Curriculum Series

It is with great excitement that we announce the publication of the Eden School’s Assessment and Curriculum Series. This set of seven assessments and curriculum guides provide an expansive range of content for grades Pre-K through 12.

This week only, you can save 15% on these new assessments and curricula by entering the Promo Code BLOGEDA at checkout.

The Autism Assessment provides educators, therapists, and parents with a tool to accurately assess a student’s current abilities and skill level. This assessment identifies the student’s strengths and weaknesses, assists with goal selection, tracks progress, and makes it easy to translate the assessment into concrete IEP goals. The Autism Curriculum is a comprehensive series of teaching programs designed to provide a valuable resource to enable professionals and parents to effectively teach students with autism. Employing a hands-on approach, the curriculum includes practical strategies for each teaching program. In addition, each skill area includes a systematic assessment and flow chart to support appropriate goal selection. Teaching programs are clearly written, with step-by-step instructions, and include target behaviors, prerequisite skills, criterion-referenced assessment, measurement, materials, procedures, and prompting techniques. Each curriculum delineates Primary, Intermediate and Secondary Skills to help structure learning for students of various ages and abilities.

These teaching programs, grounded in the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), have been field-tested with hundreds of students and adults with autism.  They address essential areas of skill such as cognitive, self-care and domestics, speech and language, vocational, physical education, recreation and leisure, employment, and residential living. This series offers specifically targeted curricula for Infants and Toddlers, a 5-part series for school-age students, and an Adult Curriculum.

Teaching programs are clearly written, with step-by-step instructions and include target behaviors, prerequisite skills, criterion, measurement, materials, procedures, and prompting techniques.  Each volume includes flow charts to assist with selection of goals. Teaching programs and data tools are presented in wire-bound format for easy use. Each volume comes with a Curriculum, Assessment and Assessment Score Sheet. Additional blank assessment score sheets are available for sale in sets of 10 for each curriculum volume: Infant/Toddler; Cognitive; PE; Self-Care/Domestics; Speech/Language; Vocational; Adult.

 

Infant & Toddler Assessment & Curriculum

Developed to specifically address the needs of infants and toddlers (up to age three) with autism, the Infant and Toddler Curriculum contains teaching programs for learning readiness, cognitive skills, oral motor/feeding, receptive and expressive language and communication, play and social skills, sensory-motor, self-care, and preschool readiness skills.

 

Eden Autism Services School Curriculum Series

This five-volume series specifically addresses the educational needs of school-age students with autism by skill area: Cognitive, Adaptive Physical Education, Self-Care and Domestics, Speech and Language, and Vocational Education. The curricula can be purchased individually or as a set of five. Each volume contains the prerequisite skills, criterion, measurement, materials, procedure, prompting techniques and teaching tips for each target behavior.

 

Cognitive Volume: School Curriculum & Assessment

The Cognitive volume contains teaching programs to address the educational needs of school aged students with autism in the areas of Learning Readiness (eye contact, gross motor imitation), Pre-academics (block imitation, matching objects, body part ID, etc.), Academics (counting, handwriting, sight word ID, etc.), and classroom language/social play (categorization, pretend play, etc.). There are more than 85 lessons presented with prerequisite skills, criterion, measurement, materials, procedure, prompting techniques and teaching tips.

 

Speech and Language Volume: School Curriculum  & Assessment

The Speech/Language volume contains teaching programs for school-aged students with autism which is divided into four domains and then ranked as primary, intermediate and secondary skills. The domains focus on oral motor/feeding, receptive language, expressive language, and pragmatics. There are more than 75 lessons presented in a highly structured, specialized format.

 

Self-Care and Domestics Volume: School Curriculum & Assessment

The Self-Care/Domestics volume contains teaching programs targeting daily living activities for school aged students with autism in the areas of self-care and domestic skills. There are more than 60 target behaviors covering primary skills like dressing, hand washing, and toileting to secondary skills such as bathing, shaving, menu preparation, and food shopping.

 

Vocational Education Volume: School Curriculum & Assessment

The Vocational volume contains teaching programs specially designed to address a variety of vocational skills for school aged students with autism. The skills taught are designed to prepare individuals with autism and developmental disabilities for adult life and the world of work. The emphasis is on using these teaching programs to foster appropriate levels of independence. There are 55 targets in this volume addressing vocational skills like sorting, labeling, packaging, inventory, stocking, and more.

 

Physical Education/Recreation and Leisure Volume: School Curriculum & Assessment

The PE volume contains teaching programs specifically designed to address the physical education, recreation, and leisure skills of school-aged students with autism. While many educators use task-analyzed programs to teach students with ASD, physical education, recreation and leisure skills are often not approached in the same manner. There are more than 35 target behaviors from biking, golf, doing a puzzle to bowling, board games, swimming and video games.

 

 

Eden Autism Services School Curriculum Series: 5-Volume Set

The 5-Volume Set includes each volume in the series for school-aged students: Cognitive, Speech/Language, Self-Care and Domestics, Vocational, and Physical Education/Recreation and Leisure.

 

Adult Services Assessment & Curriculum

The Adult Residential and Employment volumes have been combined into a single comprehensive volume for Adult Services. Developed for adolescents and adults with autism residing in community-based living arrangements, the Adult Services volume contains teaching programs for self-care, domestics, physical education, and recreation and leisure. There is a complete vocational section that focuses on teaching programs to be implemented in an adult day placement with application in employment settings.

ABOUT EDEN

Since 1975, families, educators, healthcare professionals and others with an interest in autism have looked to the knowledgeable, caring and committed staff at Eden for guidance.  Headquartered in Princeton, NJ,  Eden’s expertise includes early intervention services, pre-K through 21 education, adult residential and employment programs, and support and training for families and professionals.  This Assessment and Curriculum provides educators and caregivers with nearly 40 years of Eden’s teaching expertise.

*Offer expires on January 15, 2013 at 11:59 pm EST. Not compatible with any other offer. Be sure there are no spaces after the Promo Code when you enter it at checkout.