Thursday, January 8, 2015

Social Errands

I take every opportunity I have to send my kids on social errands. Sometimes I really need to get something somewhere or something brought to me and other times I just need a little break from that certain student (I know, you know, what i'm talkin about). Sometimes a little fresh air and a walk can make all the difference in the world. So, I don't think I have told you this before, but I am the "leader" of my focus group where I work. Pretty snazzy huh? During a process of elimination and a nasty game of "straws" I was "awarded" the title. This title gives me LOTS of opportunities to get or need things from my fellow focus groupies. Hence, my kids get plenty of practice running social errands. 

How social errands work - In order to do this successfully, you need to get your co-workers on board. They will be key in making sure that the social skill is completed properly at their end. Now, how you handle the social errand with vary widely depending on your kids. Some of mine, I just send. "Tom, I need you to run over to Ms. Jones' class and ask her if we can borrow her stapler". I don't need to call Ms. Jones, we are in cahoots. Some of my non-verbal kids I will send with a note, "I need you to take this note to room 2 and give it to Mr. Smith and then come back, ok?". Sometimes a phone call is in order to give the other teacher a heads up on what you're trying to accomplish since a lot can be lost in translation. We all do it, so we know when a kid comes in our room, to follow out the skills. If they don't ask voluntarily we ask them until we get the information (or in some circumstances I have had to call the room). Manners are important and we make sure those are addressed as well on both ends. It's funny, my friend has a boy that she sends to my room for things weekly so he can blow off a little steam. He comes in, tells me what he needs just as clear as can be and leaves. My phone will ring a couple minutes later and she will be confused because what he brings her back is not what she asked him to get, lol.

Most of the time I don't even make it an option to run these errands, because I know my boys, and they would "opt out" if given the opportunity. I usually start it with "I need you to....." and they are out the door before they know what hit them because if they think to hard about it, they won't be able to do it. In the beginning of the year I always think there are one or two that will have a tough time, but really almost all my kids have and will become pro's, in their own way. This is a great way to bring these guys out of their little social bubbles. Kids who were very intimidated by it when we started don't even blink an eye over doing it now, halfway through the year. 

Hopefully you can find another teacher or two that you can do this with at your school. Maybe even the office if another teacher is not an option. I think you will really see a difference in the way your kids approach uncomfortable situations with others. It's also a great work skills!

Take care,

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