National Smile Week is a wonderful time to address this vital role in relationship building for teens on the spectrum and other students who have difficulty with social skills.
We’re Hard-Wired to Smile
Did you know that even a mini-smile of as little as 4/100’s of a second can make another person smile back at you! That’s less time than it takes to blink!
Helping students master the social skill of smiling at others can be a huge step towards building relationships and cementing social standing. This free lesson helps students become aware of their smiling habits and build the skills they need to smile in appropriate social situations.
A Lesson on Smiling
Introduce the lesson by reading page 33 and discussing the human tendency to smile. Let students “blink” at each other to discover how fast that 4/100’s of a second is and how little effort it takes to smile at someone for that time. (Many of your students will naturally smile while they do this activity.)
Take the Smile Quiz on page 34 to check for comprehension.
Help students read page 35 introducing the steps needed to make smiling a natural part of their everyday social encounters.
Complete the Smiling—Simple Six chart on page 36 during the coming week.
Follow-up by discussing how students felt about practicing the steps and what kind of reactions they got from people they smiled at.
For Further Information
More ideas for teaching teens with special needs the kinds of social skills necessary to fit in and make friends can be found in Becoming Likeable from the Daily Living Skills Series. Written on a 3rd/4th-grade level, these workbooks, nevertheless, honor a teen’s sensibilities and maturity while meeting Indicator 13 skills and federally mandated transition services for teens with special needs.