The success of our social skills groups is due to a great deal of teamwork. I think that the success of our team comes from having focus on a common goal and good relationships.
Social skill needs change over time. When Mrs. Rairden, OT, had the idea to “join forces” and bring self-regulation to the groups, the timing was perfect. I was just beginning to transition from behavioral therapy to a more cognitive-behavioral approach. Lucky for us, we work in a school with a collaborative, inclusive philosophy. The teachers and administration understand that, for our students, academic success depends a great deal on social success.
The Lunch Buddies Team extends far beyond Room 99 (Speech therapy room). The teachers and teacher assistants who work with our students are open to posting the visuals that we use and adopting our strategies as part of the classroom routine. Classmates and friends who join our groups on a weekly basis are learning to use the same language that we do to assist our students on the playground or in the library. This blog has created a connection and opened a new line of communication with parents who need to know what is happening within the groups. This blog has also linked me to a lot of smart people who are sharing ideas about social emotional skills.
What are the benefits of a collaborative team?
1) Two (or more) heads are better than one! Sharing ideas is always good. Like minds can coach the students as they navigate the school day.
2) When students have the same expectations across people and environments, they are more calm and productive.
3) If one therapist is absent or in a meeting, the other is there to conduct the session so that students do not miss services.
What are the drawbacks to collaboration?
OMG! I can’t think of any!!