Brevard Center staff attended a “Session for Educators” presented by CARD (Center for Autism and Related Disorders) as part of the organization’s 16th annual conference held in West Palm Beach on January 16. The keynote speaker was Dr. Scott Bellini, Director of the Social Skills Research Center and Assistant Director of the Indiana Resource Center for Autism at Indiana University.
Dr. Bellini challenged the audience members to consider how effective current social skills training strategies are and presented “The Building Social Skills Relationships Model” as a better approach to social skills instruction. His emphasis was on student assessment to determine what specific skills are needed, the use of appropriate interventions to promote these skills, and the importance of continuing education and self-examination for educators.
Dr. Bellini’s afternoon workshop, ”Social Skill Strategies That Work”, expanded on his keynote address. Here, he outlined a five layer approach for social skills instruction with the emphasis on specific intervention strategies and their implementation. Often using examples from his practice, Dr. Bellini discussed strategy options such as teaching perspective taking, using behavioral rehearsal/role playing, teaching self-monitoring skills, and using peer mentors.
His demonstration of Video Self-Modeling (VSM) was particularly interesting and Dr. Bellini showed attendees how easy it can be to use video technology by filming and editing a short videotape himself at the close of the session. We all came away from the conference re-energized and with new ideas for what Dr. Bellini would call our “intervention tool chest”.