Social Skills is Canceled
By Steph West
One of the biggest struggles for neurodivergent kids and teens is their ability to make and maintain friendships. But are traditional models that teach our kids to be more like other kids really the best way to help them make friends? Steph West, a reformed social skills teacher, is here to help you discover what your kid REALLY needs to know when it comes to making friends. Steph is the ADHD brain behind Starfish Social Club, which has helped hundreds of students become more socially competent, confident, and connected, and she's here to show you how to do the same for your kiddo!
How it started
I’m going to be a bit cliché and share my ‘how it started/how it’s going’ journey with you. Where I am in Starfish Social Club today is absolutely not where I was many years ago when I started my special education journey. I bet my ‘how it started’ story will be very relatable!
November 13, 2022
How NOT to be like me
For a while now (probably over a year) I’ve been feeling like what we do at Starfish Social Club isn’t enough. If you don’t know, I teach autistic and ADHD kids and teens how to make friends. That part of it is AMAZING. I’m so proud and excited for my students and the progress and growth they make, the connections they make with other kids, the challenges we work through on a weekly basis… That part of it is, hands down, AMAZING! What I don’t do very well is teach other adults how to best support our kids. Which means the skills and strategies my students are learning probably don’t make it too far past our parking lot. I have a new plan, and a personal reason why it's so important to me. www.StarfishSocialClub.org/empoweredadvocate
October 27, 2022
It's about time
Does your child struggle with time management? Do they get overwhelmed when things need to get done? Do they spend more time resisting or refusing than actually doing the thing? Do they have a reputation for procrastinating, or for never being on time? If your child is autistic or has ADHD, you probably relate to at least one of these. Time management is one of the big challenges for people with executive functioning deficits, which is a core part of autism and ADHD. Today we’re talking about why time management is a struggle for so many of our autistic and ADHD kids, and how we can help them develop this skill.
October 26, 2022
The concept of social rules
What happens when we teach neurodivergent kids social rules? They are likely to become the kids who either get ignored by other kids, or who have a reputation for being annoying. Why is that? How come when we try so hard to help our kids make friends, we sometimes end up sabotaging them instead? There really is no such thing as a social rule. There are no black and white situations when it comes to interacting with other people. When we pretend like there are, we do our kids a major disservice. We create social robots who ask rote questions on autopilot, like ‘What’s your name?’ and ‘What are you doing?’ and ‘How are you?’. Let’s talk about how to move away from social rules, especially for our autistic and ADHD kids who tend to be very rule-focused.
September 30, 2022
Autism, ADHD, and Apologies
Does your kiddo refuse to apologize for things, even when there is evidence of the crime? Or do they apologize for everything?? Why is the concept of apologizing difficult for autistic and ADHD kids? I'm going to share some of the reasons, as well as some ways we may be making it worse, and how to focus on what really matters! August 25th is 'Kiss and Make Up Day!' What a great time to talk about apologizing!
August 25, 2022
Neurodivergent kids and humor: Why is it hard and how can we help?
August 16 is 'Tell a Joke Day'! In this episode, I'm talking all about how our neurodivergent kiddos who struggle with social awareness may struggle with humor. Humor can be challenging for them to understand, and challenging for them to share. Let's talk about why, and how we can help!
August 16, 2022
How to use praise for maximum effectiveness (pt. 2)
This episode is a follow-up to episode 6. In episode 6, I talked about how the way we have learned to praise our neurodivergent kids is actually pretty flawed. It can have long-lasting consequences in terms of their self-esteem, relationships, employment, general happiness... even though we're doing what we think is best. In this episode, I'm sharing the ways to praise our kids that actually provide them with healthy self-esteem, boundaries, self awareness... all the things we really want for our kids so they can have happy, bright futures!
July 13, 2022
When praise hurts more than helps (pt. 1)
Welcome to episode six of Social Skills is Canceled. This episode is all about how we praise and reinforce our neurodivergent kids. It lays the foundation for the challenges that may arise with the way we praise our kids, and episode seven will be about what to focus on instead.
July 13, 2022
The importance of summer schedules
This episode is all about the concept of summer schedules for our neurodivergent students. Your child needs a summer schedule, even if you don't think they do! Most importantly, this episode journeys through the STARFISH acronym to provide some different ways to use your child's summer schedule to help them be more flexible, independent, solution-seeking, all of the things that are part of our STARFISH acronym. A summer schedule that you create WITH your child can help them be more of ALL of the things that we work on at Starfish Social Club!
June 21, 2022
Why I Skipped Autism Awareness Month
Autism Awareness Month has just come to an end. This episode is all about why I don't talk about Autism Awareness Month, and why I think it's actually a disservice to our kiddos.
May 12, 2022
How to help our neurodivergent kids find friends
In this episode, I’m talking about how to find the best source of friends for your neurodivergent kiddo, as well as outlining the challenges with traditional friendship matchmaking strategies used in school and at home.
May 04, 2022
The REAL reason your child struggles to make friends
This episode is all about what’s really getting in the way of your child or teen making and keeping friends. I’m going to introduce you to the STARFISH scale so we can get a sense of your child’s level of awareness. If you haven’t already done so, you can access a free replay of the workshop I did in April on this topic! It's on our website at www.StarfishSocialClub.org.
April 17, 2022
Social Skills is Canceled
This episode is all about how and why I went from being a go-to social skills expert to not teaching social skills at all! Now I focus on teaching our kids the things that REALLY matter when it comes to making friends, and I’m on a mission to help others do the same!
April 05, 2022