Review: Crafting Connections

In my opinion Crafting Connections is THE social skills book to use for using aba to teach social skills to higher functioning individuals on the autism spectrum or to students with milder disabilities.

First off I am NOT a fan of social skills curriculums. I firmly believe that social skills instruction needs to be tailored to the individual needs of the student. If you don’t have the time or skills to plan individualized social skills lessons and are looking for a curriculum or worksheets, you should not be teacking social skills. So although book offers a curriculum with ideas for instruction the AWESOME part is the framework it provides for teaching social skills: Teaching Interactions.

Teaching Interactions (TIs) are 6 steps that you go through to teach a new skill:

1. Label & Identify

2. Rational

3. Description & Demonstration

4. Practice

5.Feedback

6. Optional External Consequence

Notice something….it is actually a behavioral framework!! I have used this framework across populations from students in an autism room, to conduct disordered students, to staff training. TIs can be taught in long or short format and the presentation altered to suit the needs of the learner.

Another cool thing about this book are the social skills domains that it presents. They are not absolute and the authors acknowledge that there is overlap but they provide a nice framework for thinking about the range of social skills that we need to teach.

Now for the down side: It is really less a criticism of the book than a caution for the user. Teaching Interactions are awesome and the authors provide a lot of good information BUT this is not a manual for beginners. I firmly believe that it requires a very experienced behavior analyst to teach social skills well. If they are at all available in your area I would strongly recommend attending one of Autism Partnership’s workshops where they go through teaching interactions and the social skills taxonomy.