How to Improve Social Skills Teens Need for Life! And a Freebie!

How to Improve Social Skills Teens Need for Life!

Teens need good social skills to be able to succeed in life. We all need good social skills, LOL! But it is our job to help prepare the teens we work with for going out into the world as independent adults. They need to be able to work in groups. It’s a life skill.

Many years of working in a special school taught me this. Students with low academics but good social skills are the ones who are able to leave the special schools. Students who don’t have good social skills are going to have problems in life no matter how high their academic scores are.

You surely have seen situations where students don’t function well in social situations with their peers. The ability to get along is made more difficult when your students have autism, an emotionally disturbed label,  nonverbal language disorder, or if they lack the necessary higher-level language skills. All of these problems are associated with social skills needs.

teen social skills, speech therapy, free download

Do your teens often have disagreements with others?

We all have disagreements. It’s a normal part of interactions with others. But some teens have disagreements more often than others do. And they may have problems resolving those disagreements.

You have a clue that this is a social skills problem is if most disagreements end in a fight.  Or if your teen always thinks that it is completely the other person’s fault. This is a sign that some perspective-taking skills may be lacking, as usually everyone involved in an argument has played a role.

There are lots of reasons why disagreements can occur.

Think about these social skills problems.

  • Did the disagreement break out because one teen misunderstood the other?
  • Maybe one kid responded inappropriately because they misread nonverbal cues.
  • Without perspective-taking skills, the student can’t see the other person’s point of view and may think the other person is always the one in the wrong.
  • When students don’t understand the nonliteral language being used in a conversation, they can give off base responses.

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar to you? Social skills problems really impact how well our students work in groups. It can also affect their friendships and social interactions. And I know how hard it is to find appropriate level materials to address teen level needs because I searched and searched!

Now you can engage your students and improve language for real-life social skills!

Real-life social scenarios engage teens!

The free download,  is shown in these pictures. See how many different skills are included in each unit to make it easier to meet social skills needs in your mixed speech therapy groups.

Try it out to see how engaged your teens can be!

free download, teen social skills, speech therapy

Interpreting facial expressions and body language are vital skills for teen social interactions. While the short story gives basic information, the teens in your social skills groups have to interpret the nonverbal communication to understand the problem.

Specific details are not provided. This allows students to use their own experiences to relate to the problem and stay engaged.

Each unit has a common social scenario based around a photo that can be used for improving nonverbal communication skills: facial expressions, gestures, and body language. There are discussion questions with possible answers to guide you.

Social Skills and Idioms!

The scenarios include figurative language, nonliteral language, and idioms.  This helps you work on improving higher-level language skills in your mixed groups. If your students need some extra comprehension help, don’t worry! The complete units also have a basic level scenario to start with.  It includes the vocabulary that explains the idioms to ensure that students understand the teen problem scene.

idioms, speech therapy, social scenarios

Each social skills scenario comes with discussion questions and an answer key to guide your discussion. So there is no prep involved! You can concentrate most on what each particular mixed group needs.  The packet lets you address both nonverbal language and nonliteral language while solving teen problems.

Use the follow-up worksheets for classwork or homework. What could be easier than that?

Each worksheet provides additional practice to follow up after your group discussions. Use the most appropriate for each student or use them all. The pictured worksheet gives more practice using idioms in context.

Be sure to download the free bonus pages, too. They give extra practice at a story comprehension level for your students that need it.

Summarize Social Skills Scenarios

Practice summarizing the important story details and determining cause-effect relationships with this worksheet. Did you ever listen to a student tell you about a problem and feel totally confused about what happened?  Giving clear summaries is an important life skill!

Then use the information to start determining possible solutions. Social interactions are complicated, so teens need to be able to think of multiple ways to deal with a problem. They also need to be able to predict possible consequences of varied solutions, including the emotional impact from the other person’s perspective.

problem solving, speech therapy, teen social skills


With the next worksheet, students explain the problem from the character’s perspective and offer two solutions. This helps students develop more flexible thinking in problem situations. Then they choose the best solution.

teen problem solving, social skills, free download, speech therapy

Then they choose the best solution. When they do this, they should be using perspective-taking skills to explain how the chosen solution impacts all of the people involved in the problem.

Have your students tried to tell you about a problem situation? If they can’t explain why they did what they did, they could use this practice. When students gain the language skills needed for problem-solving and learn to think ahead for possible consequences, they have a better basis for improving their social interactions in real life.

Perspective Taking

The ability to take another’s perspective is vital for social skills in everyday life. Without learning these skills, we’d all be like 2-year-olds fighting over a toy. “Mine!”  “My way!”

perspective taking, social skills, teens, speech therapy

Make sure that your teens comprehend the group discussion and retain important details with this worksheet. They take the character’s perspective to fill in a thinking bubble. It is a great social skill for teens to explain how the other person might be thinking about the problem.

Students also define idioms and explain important details from the social skills scenario on this page. It’s a great way to apply the skills learned in your discussions.

Learning Games Apply Social Skills Information.

Games are a great way to reinforce skills. Teens can practice what they learned and it doesn’t feel like work. Also, you get to see your students interacting in a less structured way that is more like real life. Pull yourself back a little during this part of a therapy session to get a better idea of what their social skills are.

The set has game cards for practicing the new nonliteral language from each scenario. There’s also a game board to work on the overall strategy terms.

You can use these cards in matching activities or with your own board games. Or download the free printable board game. You will have access to this and more freebies when you join the ‘It Looks Like Language to Me!’ Facebook group.

There are many higher language skills are covered in each scenario. That means your mixed groups will be a piece of cake. You’ll see how engaged your students are in these meaningful real-life scenarios. Then you will want more!

No worries!  There are lots more scenarios available.


Social Inferences 1:

  • A fight before a date
  • Forgetting something important
  • An argument at school
  • Cyber-bullying
  • Getting bad news over the phone

Social Inferences 2:

  • Sister problems
  • Being honest in a relationship
  • Teasing Trouble
  • Being left out
  • Getting bullied

Social Inferences 3:

  • Missing Your Best Friend
  • A Fight with Your Sister
  • Relationship Problems
  • Talking at the Movies
  • Disapprove of Peers

There are free bonus pages for the literal level of ‘A Friend Picks a Fight.’  Just head on over to join my FB group ‘It Looks Like Language to Me.’

Look for the free downloads section once you join.

Are you looking for more free resources to help teens with social skills? Read this blog post.


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I’m Linda, an SLP who loves helping you build effective communication skills for your students using strategies and visuals. Pictures are time consuming, so let me make your life easier!

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