Helping children develop appropriate social skills can be very challenging, especially when working with ADHD, or emotionally handicapped children. Listed below are suggested interventions that can be used by patents, teachers, and even mental health professionals to assist children in developing more socially appropriate behavior.


2-3 sessions per week
  • Small group - child and 3 class peers (good role models)
  • Select target behavior:
    1. Hitting other students / adults
    2. Pushing roughly Throwing sticks and other objects
    3. Throwing equipment
    4. Swearing, Running off with others ball
  • Prioritize list and choose one
  • Small group session - students to act out the actual situation
  • Discuss:
    1. What happened?
    2. Why do you think it happened?
    3. How did you feel when it happened?
    4. What else could have been (a) said (b) done?

Practice, rehearse and role play the appropriate responses that have been suggested.

  • Use real equipment.
  • Use video camera to reinforce the auditory and visual message.
  • Develop a script of "say and do" strategies to learn and practice (perhaps keep in a small book or on a card to go in his pocket). These are safety phrases that need to be constantly reinforced.

    Sample phrases such as:

    1. "I need help"
    2. "I'm sorry"
    3. "I don't understand"
    4. "I'll try"
    5. "If I start feeling hot in the head I will count to ten under my breath"
  • Whatever skills being focused on there must be opportunities for practice in class and playground.
  • Should the child make any attempt to use a skill it should be praised
  • Some type of reward system would intensify motivation to try.
  • After play ask the child how things went and get the child's and others perception of what happened.


  • Meet regularly every week and follow up on the skills session

  • Discuss the safety phrases - get input form all in the circle

    1. When they would use them.

    2. How to use them - stand still, face the person.

    3. Look at them and say I'm sorry.

  • Use the students to get ideas for the child to use.

  • Ask them to think of some ways they could use to help the child if they see something is happening.

  • Introduce some potential problem situations that you know will come up for the child.

  • Ask the circle to come up with solutions of how they may solve them e.g.:

    1. "What would you do if you lost your canteen money?"

    2. "What would you do if a teacher accused you of doing something that you hadn't done?"

    3. "What would you say if you accidentally hurt someone?"