By Marc Larrivee, CIP Berkshire staff
It was rewarding to hear a local employer say about a student interning there, “We really like having Sarah work for us. She’s pleasant with the customers, and she’s able to handle the register.”
The school and workplace have interesting and complex social rules and dynamics. Succeeding in these environments takes the learning, practice, and mastery of many different social skills.
I took an informal poll of co-workers and what they liked to see in a co-worker. Their responses included:
- “someone who can do their job”
- “someone who is kind to others”
- “ability to get along with others”
- “willingness to help each other out”
- “considerate and polite”
An informal survey of the web revealed employers looking for someone able to do the technical aspects of the job being advertised, as well as soft skills. In these, they mentioned abilities such as respect for others, getting along, teamwork, communication, listening, willingness to learn, and others.
Gail Hawkins, in her book “How to find Work that Works for People with Asperger’s Syndrome” includes the following list of categories of social skills that are important in the workplace:
? Presentation Skills such as hygiene, clothing, and Greetings
? Communication Skills such as speaking and listening
? Social Skill such as manners and boundaries
? Personal Characteristics such as attitude and punctuality
? Mindful Skills such as following steps and taking initiative
Here at CIP, students practice many of these social skills in their social thinking classes, with their social mentors, in their residential life, in advising and wellness and clinical sessions, and in their interaction with others in classes.
In a specific way the C-STEP program helps to prepare students for work environment. As they practice these skills, they grow in their abilities to succeed at work, in their relationships, and in life.