Monday, October 11, 2010

“We Can Make It Better”

We were at our son’s school the other day when the speech therapist there told us about a book they will be using to help teach kids how to solve social problems.

She explained that there are three components to problem solving.  First, you must be able to look at a situation and identify facts.  This is a called doing a situational evaluation.  Next, from this evaluation, identify what problems exist.  Finally, infer possible outcomes to the situation. 

Most of us can often take the first two steps for granted, especially when the problem seems readily apparent to us.  However, she explained that kids like Kai have trouble with things like reading body language or understanding relationships between people.  That makes it hard for them to even assess the facts of a situation, let alone be aware that there is a problem for which they need to come up with a solution.  It can also lead to frustration on their part when they do know that there is a problem, but cannot identify the source of it in order to solve it.

The book they will be using at school is called “We Can Make It Better!” It contains twenty-one stories where there is some type of social dilemma related to the context. Examples include someone making inappropriate comments or quitting a game when losing.  The reader is then invited to find ways to “make it better.”  In our son’s case, the speech therapist will be facilitating a discussion with him and another child to help them problem solve and come up with a more preferred outcome to the story.  Through this process, the students will develop a better understanding of how one person’s behavior can positively or negatively affect a relationship between people. 

At school, once the students get practice at “making it better” through the stories in the book, the staff will be using the same approach to help students problem solve real situations that develop during the day there.  Later on, that will be something we can do with him at home as well. 

What a great approach, and a nice philosophy of life, too.  “We can make it better!”


  1. Yes, it's nice to know that our son's school is finding interesting approaches to teach the kids.


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