This post is all about working on social skills in speech therapy for children in middle school (grades 6-8).

Skills to Target:

  • Topic Maintenance
  • Announcing Topic Shifts
  • Not talking too much (ask the other person questions)
  • Responding to others with relevant information
  • Not asking personal questions
  • Keeping secrets and respecting someone’s privacy
  • Including enough information for the listener to know what you’re talking about
  • Using clear speech with complete sentences
  • Beginning and Ending Conversations
  • Vocal Volume
  • How to Listen
  • Thinking about others
  • Using clues in conversations (making inferences)
  • Approaching and entering a group conversation
  • Not perseverating on a topic
  • Making small talk

How to Figure Out what to Target:

  • Observe student in natural interactions with peers (host a lunch group or push-in (“supervise”) during lunch or free time)
  • Ask teachers what social problems they’ve noticed
  • Ask the child what he has trouble with in conversation or when things seem to break down
  • Ask the child’s friends (with his permission)
  • Observe other children his age in typical interactions and see what they are doing that the student is not

How to Run a Social Skills Group:

  1. Choose one topic per session (or one topic for several sessions)
  2. Read a story or watch a video about the topic or give a scenario where the skill was not used correctly and have the students identify what went wrong
  3. Explain the skill to the children and write out rules for the situation or scenario
  4. Have one or two students come up to the front to demonstrate the skill in a staged scenario that you control and plan out
  5. Ask the students questions about the rules of this topic
  6. Have students pair off and practice the skill while you watch and provide feedback
  7. Come back together and ask questions again to ensure comprehension.  Watch the video again or read the book again.
  8. Assign each student to write in a journal about one time that they used the skill (either correctly or incorrectly) and review at the beginning of your next session
  9. Check to see if the students retained the info during the next session.  If not, repeat these steps.

The Amazing Tool that’s Going to Make all of this A LOT Easier!

Everyday Speech Social Skills Video Library

They’ve made the videos for you!  Videos will include:

  • A brief explanation of the skill
  • Video demonstrations of the skill being done incorrectly
  • Analysis of the incorrect demonstration including the consequences of the child’s actions
  • Video demonstrations of what the child should have done instead and how that changes the consequences
  • Summary of the skill

Videos cover a variety of topics for middle schoolers (and some for younger kids as well), including:

  • Basic Conversation Skills
  • Advanced Conversation Skills
  • Nonverbal Communication
  • How we Act in School
  • Making Friends
  • Keeping Self Control and Handling Stress
  • Solving Conflicts with Peers

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More Resources for Social Skills:

If you’d like more resources for middle schoolers, check out this page on my site:

Click Here for More Middle School Resources (including a free middle school therapy material bundle!)