Shawn Amador, LCSW, is a school social worker who runs an after school comedy troupe, and is a part time therapist. Her new book, Teaching Social Skills Through Sketch Comedy and Improv Games, publishes this month.
Kids and teens with social cognitive deficits have difficulty seeing outside of themselves, which contributes back to having more social difficulty. Due to their struggles, social skills training could possibly be a trigger or at the least, tap into insecurities. We need to find ways to teach social skills in real time while interacting, thus also increasing ‘feel good’ brain chemicals which can increase positive feelings about interactions.
When adding theatre, improv skills, play-writing and sketch comedy to social skills training, it’s like adding spoonful of sugar to help the social skills go down! Shawn Amador, LCSW, has created a program that adds all of these activities together, which makes “Social Theatre”™. Participants in Shawn’s Social Theatre group therapy, say that it does not feel like therapy. In fact, we make fun of ourselves through brainstorming socially awkward moments which we make into plays and correct with a more effective social skill in the next scene.
In Teaching Social Skills through Sketch Comedy and Improv Games, there are activities that are adaptable to many social and intellectual levels from academically gifted, typical, to mild and moderate cognitive abilities. Moreover, social skills sketch comedy scripts from the book can be utilized in teaching lessons or for performance.
If you would like to try some games that teach social skills, here are some popular games:
- “Red Light Green Light” for Self Control
- “Mother May I” for cognitive flexibility
- “Yes, and” improv game for collaborative idea building
- “Feelings Charades” for feelings recognition and expression
- Acting out a familiar story, switching roles and acting it out again for perspectives