Social Communication Therapy should be mulitlayered and meaningfully address the areas of deficit and build the strengths simultaneously! Whew…that’s a lot of work and preparation on the part of the astute therapist and challenging work for the client. Still no social intervention program that expects to work beyond the round table and the walls of the treatment room should be void of parent work, community involvement, and real life social patterning and experiences.
Social skills are one small component of building the social person. Social skills teach the politeness, the niceties, the way to be. Social skills can often be reflective of the norm of the person teaching rather than the social norm of the general population and the culture of the client.
Real layers of building the social being include: Emotional Development, Regulation, Social Connections, Social Cognition, Conversation Fluency, Nonverbal Comprehension, Nonliteral Language Comprehension and Use and much much more.
Whatever stage social intervention meets the client (early intervention or otherwise), the work should include home, family, community so that the social layers can be created and the difference is made in the clients life in the ways, places, stages, and interactions that matter most.
A study recently funded by NIH and mentioned in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry supports the need for early intervention in social communication and the value of the home component.
My cautionary key word to the EI therapist is MEANINGFUL, EVIDENCED BASED THERAPY WITH INTERVENTION TOOLS THAT ARE EFFECTIVE…many EI therapists believe that being in the home will mask the lack of effectiveness in the tools being used. I would like to caution that in this study the therapist provided real intervention with a training system with a complementary home program for families. In addition, they measured the progress with data, assessment information, and clinical information.