[Source: Mac &Toys]
In addition to being an occupational therapist, I also run a social skills group called The Meeting House Juniors. We are a recreational based social skills program for children ages 4-7 years old who have a variety of social struggles. While our number one goal is to make them feel more socially comfortable and prepare them for the increasingly more demanding social demands they may face as they get older, we also want them to enjoy coming. This means that we have had to find fun ways to talk to them and work on social skills.
As I was trying to develop our curriculum this year, I decided that one of the most effective and fun ways would be to use picture books to teach our social skills lessons each week. We used to end each session at TMH Juniors last year by reading a picture book and it the more I thought about it, the more I realized how much they looked forward to that time of the afternoon. It also made me realize that younger children have a hard time being able to identify and recognise their own social deficits but with the right platform, they are able to recognize it in other people and the characters in books. Using picture books in our group has been a great way to talk about different kinds of social emotional challenges that kids might face and can be a great way to brainstorm, problem solve and include parents in our process so that kids can be better prepared for a variety of challenging social situations.