How To Get Carryover of Social Language Skills In The Home

We’re talking all about generalization and carryover of our client’s goals into their home for the next few weeks, so I KNEW we had to discuss this skill with one of our hardest goals to target: Pragmatics, aka Social Skills!


Targeting pragmatics is one of the most rewarding, but can also be the most difficult area of our profession. When targeting it, we know that a few foundational elements have to be established, or the skill we are teaching won’t be as effectively implemented:

  1. Client Buy-In: The goals in this area should be made with the client in mind, and made with them if possible. If a child is not motivated to work on certain aspects of social skills, they are highly unlikely to work on them! Make sure to discuss with them the goals they have for themselves and make them aware of the goals you set together.
  2. Make it Natural: In special populations, there is a need for specialized intervention, especially ones that are highly natural. By changing the environment and providing consistent mediation, we can ensure that the client takes on an active role in an area that requires active learning.
  3. Feedback and Self-Reflection: While it’s important to provide education in problem solving in this area, we also shouldn’t discount how important it is to have the child examine their own role and performance as well.


I know what you’re thinking…this information is great and all but how do I implement that in my sessions starting TOMORROW? Well, let’s get into it!

  • Use technology! Modern technology such as video or audio recording interactions can help being awareness to our clients in regards to their social interactions. (Mason, et. al, 2012, and Elder, et. al, 2006)
  • Brush up on those acting chops! Social skills therapy can be done through role-play, dramatization, recursive cycles of materials and activities, and use of multiple modalities (Damico & Damico, 1993).
  • Provide opportunities for self-reflection by journaling, discussion, and/or client directed self-reflection ratings such as numerical rating scales.


So, we’ve got the therapy taken care of, but how do we keep that going? Let’s get those skills working in the home!

  • Send home homework that’s easy for parents to use initially. My Problem Solving Teach and Practice Unit gives parents everything they need. From the skills being targeted to practice, we can provide caregivers/parents with everything they need to practice at home.
  • Let parents help mediate more natural interactions once they are comfortable. Send home the rating scales or types of self-reflection practices you are using in therapy for them to evaluate everyday social situations. Those interactions can happen with their siblings, at the dinner table, or even on the ride home from school! Use small opportunities for big change! Spoiler alert: The Practice Unit includes blank sheets for identifying the problem and brainstorming a solution to it that can be sent home for parents and includes 8 spots. Send one home once a week for home practice!

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