Their Voice: ScenicView Academy to host special training

September 23, 2018

Monica Villar

Underdeveloped or lack of social skills is a common factor in many of the children and adults diagnosed on the autism spectrum disorder.

However, there are many children who are not in the spectrum that may have other intellectual or developmental disabilities who also have a hard time in any social situation. The result of not learning how to socialize with one’s peers is a childhood, adolescence and even adulthood lived in solitude.

ScenicView Academy in Provo is offering a two-day training, “Purple Crayons, People Problems, and Potential” on Oct. 25 and 26. A nonprofit school that successfully works with young adults with autism and learning disorders, ScenicView has been teaching social skills to their own students for decades. Through the understanding of what works and doesn’t, they have decided to share what they know with others in the community who work with youth and young adults on the spectrum (primarily level 1 diagnosis).

This two-day course provides some overarching guidance, but then helps each individual discover how they can improve the methods they are currently using to teach these valuable skills to their students or family members. Those who will benefit most are mental health professionals and educators teaching social skills in their respective settings.

The training breaks down into five key elements. The first section discusses what is referred to as the “social divide” — elements that keep our students from connecting, including the lack of skills, social fears and lack of motivation.

The second section they will address is ways to help students learn important elements of social interaction, including recognizing what others are thinking and feeling, and showing empathy.

The third segment will provide tips for improving one’s conversational ability.

Once a relationship is created, it is equally important to learn ways to keep it alive. These factors will be discussed in the fourth section.

The final section will help you know how to take what you have learned and use it to help your own students. This course will be taught by Ryan Hawks, ACHMC, CTRS; and Scott Wood, CHMC.

For anyone who works in the special education system with so many of these kids, it is hard to watch them get in their own way of building healthy, stable relationships with their peers. For many youth, the struggle to make friends and have relationships is harder than the struggle to get passing grades. The social component of school is all around them and cannot be kept from them even with the best intentions.

For anyone interested in participating in this course, registration is available at http://www.svacademy.org. Information is also available by emailing socialsteps@svacademy.org.

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