Lynne Alba Speech Therapy Solutions, P.C.
3521 Lomita Blvd., Suite 201
Torrance, Ca 90505
A Unique Program
Kid Talk a unique social skills program designed and developed by a group of certified speech-language pathologists with extensive experience in speech, language and social skills. It is a precision-focused program for children needing help with their speech and language communication skills in a group setting. Kid Talk is unique in that it is designed, taught and led exclusively by Speech-Language Pathologists. Your child is placed in a group of their peers that is individualized for their needs.
Introduction and Overview
Kid Talk is a year-round social communication and play skill development group for children and adolescents ages 4 through 18. Some unique aspects of our program include:
- Separate curriculums and activities designed for different ages and abilities. Social and social-pragmatic skills are developmental, and children of various ages and abilities have different needs.
- Staff with special understanding of the communication/language skills needed for social communication, interaction & play. We have a strong focus on using language (verbal and nonverbal) functionally to interact, converse, problem solve and share feelings with friends. Strong emphasis is on child-driven learning. An important part of Kid Talk is the feedback, encouragement and support given by peer buddies. We teach children to teach each other and respond in positive ways to their peers.
- Creation of “individual scenarios” tailored to your child’s specific goals. We will create opportunities during “free play” and unstructured interaction to challenge your child and allow us to give immediate guidance “in the moment.” We help children problem solve and “talk it through” during real, socially challenging situations.
- Movement between groups, as appropriate, to accommodate for your child’s growth and changing needs.
Other unique features of the program include:
- Individual interview process and trial session, at no cost, to establish the “best fit” for your child.
- Open start time. Children may start at any time during the year. This helps to reinforce skills such as saying goodbye, keeping “in touch” and meeting new friends. Adapting to these changes is a natural part of socialization and life.
- Six-month progress reports for each child to evaluate progress and continued needs.
- Rating scales for parents, teachers and therapists to measure effectiveness.
Goals and Objectives
Kid Talk is designed to help children and adolescents:
- Build and maintain friendships and relationships.
- Foster interest in and the ability to engage in community activities with family, peers and community members.
- Develop and use overall communication skills and strategies (verbal and nonverbal) as well as improve play, conversation and social interaction.
We believe learning is best accomplished by doing. We also believe that visually cued instruction is essential to teaching social skills. Visually-based instruction makes social training more concrete and helps a child to attend, organize and understand social expectations. We believe that a program must address social perspective-taking to be effective. Lastly, we believe that social learning should be sequential, linked to community goals and consistent with an individual’s functional and relevant needs.
Our Structure and Philosophy
We believe social skills must be broken down into “digestible” and concrete steps for teaching. The four hands-on components include:
- Teaching: A social skill or set of skills.
- Practice: through modeling, role playing, or, for younger ones, puppet play and pretend play.
- Reinforcing: through clinician and/or peer feedback, video feedback, and positive shaping of behavior.
- Self-Discovery: through actual experience with peers in group activities, conversation, play and outings.
Accordingly, Kid Talk makes use of:
- Charts and graphs to teach social skills, “steps” within social skills and strategies for achieving specific goals.
- Children’s literature and social stories.
- Video playback of sessions to evaluate behaviors and learn through watching themselves and their pals.
- Specialized social skills videos that demonstrate and teach skills. Through this training, children can evaluate other’s videotaped social performance during various social situations (e.g., at school, at a birthday party).
- Games, projects and activities involving fairness, teamwork, cooperation and planning.
- Creative and sociodramatic play. We teach kids how to play. We work toward improving actual play (imaginary/pretend play) as well as the ability to play with others (cooperative play).
- Role playing, and for younger students, puppet play.
- Discussion of feelings, thoughts, ideas and wishes of others and how they may differ from one’s own perspective.
- Structured problem solving and reasoning and group discussion.
- Conversation and snack time: a great time for helping and sharing with friends.
- Parent feedback: Parents may let us know about social problems occurring in their child’s week. We use these situations as general social themes (without identifying who it relates to) to discuss and role play.
- Free Play and Free Time where social themes and goals can be videotaped, reinforced and worked on “in the moment.”
- Community outings and play dates as appropriate.
- Positive praise and positive peer feedback to reinforce all appropriate and successful behavior.
- Use of socially relevant themes. Depending on age level and experience, topics may include dealing with teasing and bullies, being bossy or responding to bossiness, taking an interest in other’s ideas and interests, being flexible, and more.
- Parent training in social skills. This includes observation of group through a one-way observation window, handouts and specific suggestions for carryover of skills at home, school and in the community.
Kid Talk Structure
Licensed speech-language pathologists assisted by trained speech assistants.
Peers grouped according to age, ability and interests. The group is for children and adolescents between the ages of 4-18 with special needs which include social-pragmatic deficits (e.g., autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities, learning disabilities, language disorders, ADHD, etc.). Participants must be able to attend in a small group and follow group instruction and format.
Two to six peers with two adults.
Once a week for 60 minutes.
Who May Benefit
Children and Adolescents who may need assistance in areas such as:
- Greeting, turn taking, sharing
- Developing and expanding play skills and interests
- Making and keeping friends
- Joining others in play
- Winning and losing
- Initiating interactions in varied and appropriate ways
- Using language to problem solve, negotiate and “work things out”
- Talking about feelings and understanding the feelings of others
- Being flexible and respecting differences
- Showing interest in others’ preferred activities and interests
- Dealing with prominent social issues such as being bullied, being teased, discriminating between fact vs. opinion, and understanding and using humor and idiomatic expressions
Funding may be provided through one of the local California Regional Centers if your child qualifies. For information, please consult the Web for your local Regional Center. You can explain that you need assistance with getting social skills training for your child. Please let them know that we have space available, should your child qualify, and that we would be happy to serve you. If your child does not qualify, we offer the same program through private pay.
This article by:
Lynne G. Alba
M.A., CCC, SLP
Speech Therapy Solutions, Children’s