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Following up on last week’s lessons on complimenting is this week’s social language lesson: interrupting.

Interrupting is an issue for all (or almost all!) children, but children with special needs can have particular difficulty waiting for a turn, noticing when they are speaking out of turn, and picking up on social cues to  know when it is appropriate to share their thoughts.

I found the book “My Mouth is a Volcano” by Julia Cook and Carrie Hartman in our school library, and knew I had hit gold. The book is about a boy who continually interrupts. He describes his words as a volcano, which bubble out of his brain, slide down his tongue, and ERUPT! The book does a good job of showing the negative social consequences of interrupting (other people will feel hurt and think you are rude), as well as acknowledging the difficulty of “holding it in.” And it gives a great strategy for handling the urge to blurt out – take a breath, breathe the words out your nose, and then when it is your turn, breathe your words back in through your mouth and say them!

This week, in honor of valentine’s day, I am doing several language lessons focused on compliments – how to give them, how to accept them, and WHY to give them. Kids with language disabilities often have co-occurring social difficulties which overlap with their language difficulties. Working on how to compliment can help these kids to make connections with others, and be more liked by their teachers and peers. Let’s face it, a little flattery can go a long way. 🙂

The book I found for this lesson (ALWAYS use a book!) is “I Like Your Buttons” by Sarah Lamstein. It is a very sweet book about a girl who pays a compliment to her teacher, who pays a compliment to the custodian, who pays a compliment to another teacher, who does something nice for his class… It is a nice illustration of the “pay it forward” principle, and gives examples of many different kinds of compliments that you can give to someone.

After the book we will make compliment cards to practice our complimenting skills. The cards have the phrase “I like _________________ because ________________________” on the inside, to help scaffold an appropriate complimenting structure, and also give the kids something visual to follow if they are readers. You write on the inside of the card, seal it with a sticker, and write the recipient’s name on the outside.

Voila! You gave a compliment!

Click here for the compliment card template.