Communication & Cognition Skills Needed for Friendship Development
LEVEL 1: Functional Communication
The ability to express needs, wants, feelings, and preferences so that others can understand. Functional Communication can be through the use of picture card exchanges, sign language, a speech-generating device, or oral speech. Children can be taught "appropriate behavior" in this stage, but to understand how to change your behavior based on the situation requires higher-level cognitive and language skills, as in the case of stage 2: Social Skills.
LEVEL 2: Social Skills
The ability to adapt your behavior effectively based on the situation and what you know about the people in the situation for them to react and respond to you in the manner you had hoped. Why do we use social skills? To impact how we make people feel which then impacts how they feel about us.*
LEVEL 3: Social Cognition or "Social Thinking" Skills
The ability to consider your own and others thoughts, emotions, beliefs, intentions, knowledge, etc. to help interpret and respond to the information in your mind and possibly through your social behavioral interactions.* These are the primary skills we work on at Camp Yakety Yak.
*Adapted from the work of Michelle Garcia Winner, Socialthinking.com