1 Sep 2015

High School Social Skill Program a Success

High School Social Skill Program a Success

Author: AAPC Publishing  /  Categories: Useful Information , Social Learning , Autism and Communities , Behavior , Teaching   /  Rate this article:

Good communication skills are a big advantage across the lifespan, but students who have autism spectrum disorder often find social interaction challenging and, therefore, don’t always reach their potential.

Because communication skills are so valuable, Jennifer Schmitt, a high school teacher at Beavercreek High School in Beavercreek, OH, created a program for high school students intended to develop and strengthen social skills. The curriculum is designed around a human relations course and incorporates other students from the high school serving as peer coaches. Starting conversations, eye contact, and appropriate expressions are among the many social skills addressed in the program.

Jennifer later wrote a proposal to the Beavercreek administrators to launch the program districtwide. The proposal was accepted as a pilot program for the 2007-2008 school year. Since then, students have been reaping the benefits of this approach to developing/fostering social skills. Specifically, students report becoming able to make new friends, breaking out of their shells, and applying new strategies to dealing with social anxiety.

Schmidt’s book about the course is in the process of being published with AAPC Publishing and will be available as a resource for other educators hoping to start a similar communications class.

Click here to learn more.


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3 comments on article "High School Social Skill Program a Success"


9/2/2015 11:12 AM

As a person who has seen this course in action and noticed the difference it makes for students, I am thrilled other districts will be able to learn how to help their students in the same way.

Joshua Ahner

9/2/2015 9:30 PM

I was a student in Mrs. Schmidt communication class in 2012. At first I was very shy and unresponsive towards the students in the class, but by the end of the year I become friends with everyone and even managed to keep in contact with some of them. Till this day I have told myself I wish I had this program at my old high school in New York because maybe then I would have been able to communicate better and made some new friends. Thank you Mrs. Schmidt for the awesome communication class and If I learned one thing from the class it is not to be afraid to talk to new people and always give the person your full attention.

Heather Bridgman

9/3/2015 9:33 PM

Jennifer, I'm so excited to read about the exciting things going on in your classroom on a daily basis! This book is sure to be a valuable resource for other teachers who are interested in replicating your successful model.

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