Talking with Children with Special Needs About Love

Any child’s experience with first ‘love,’or their first crush, is a milestone we all look forward to, and dread, in equal measure. It can be a maze of emotions and social cues that can be very hard to navigate without proper guidance. The first experience any of us have with love is within our own families, it feels natural and effortless, but the first crush is often a bittersweet experience.

With a child who has special needs, approaching the subject well ahead of their first crush is ideal. He or she is far more likely to listen and then remember your advice if they are not in the midst of experiencing those confusing feelings. Keeping your examples clear and simple, and preferably talking with your child while playing a game, sport, or doing a craft, makes the discussion easier. Staying positive and reminding them that these feelings though intense, do pass, and that it is important to avoid engaging in behavior that your family does not approve of.

Explaining to your child with special needs the temporary nature of new crushes, their unpredictability, and their intensity can sometimes be very confusing. Using tools, such as videos, to help demonstrate the various scenarios can be very helpful when children are not yet experienced enough to observe the social cues on their own.

The Social Skill Builder School Rules! Vol. 2 CD offers videos that talk about and demonstrate the differences between a friend and girlfriend/boyfriend

The Social Skill Builder School Rules! Vol. 2 software demonstrates real-life scenarios that prompt you child to ask questions and make decisions on what to say or do next, while observing real-life examples of the situation in question. Learning by example allows for a deeper understanding of what can be a very confusing time for children with special needs. Our software also provides an ability to keep track of progress, and simplifies the scope of what your child understands and builds from there.  Click below to view a sample of the many video scenarios within the School Rules Vol. 2 CD :

Sample Video from Social Skill Builder's School Rules Vol. 2

As your child matures, the nature of their questions will change, and our software allows for those continuing challenges. We also point parents to videos on You Tube to help them discuss the differences between crushes and friends with their middle school and high school-aged children. The visuals, that can be paused and played at teaching moments, help start a conversation about clear differences between the crush and friend behavior.

Learning to distinguish between a crush and real love is a developmental milestone, but using the right video modeling tools, including School Rules! Vol. 2, can make a sometimes difficult time of transition a lot easier.

Review of My School Day CD from All4MyChild


    Find out more about the My School Day CD on our Products Page           


Thanks to All4MyChild for reviewing our My School Day CD. Their comments include, “We are thrilled with this product and are looking forward to many more opportunities to explore and use this valuable teaching tool.”  

The goal was to eliminate pushing to be first in line. Zeroing in on pushing to be first in line, the therapist reviewed the Lining Up video sequence with the class. As we all know, this is a desire of many kids, but usually they naturally develop flexibility around the understanding that we cannot ALWAYS be first. They watched the videos, talked about them, and practiced lining up. The observed and practiced skill was reinforced by explaining that pushing in line meant less time to play, and the kids were motivated to line up correctly.

Check out All4MyChild’s full blog to see how Social Skill Builder’s My School Day CD and video modeling helped to finally achieve this social goal!


                                                                                                                 Social Skill Builder - Leesburg


3 ways 3 says-A Fun and Easy Way to Target the Invisible Meaning Behind the Words


After being back from the American Speech and Hearing Association in Atlanta GA, I had heard from a great speaker Ashley Wiley, MA CCC-SLP,  from Speak LA.  She is a SLP who uses drama with her clients to develop social thinking and understanding with children with autism.

One of the ways her program works on prosody or intonation to inject meaning into what we say is called 3 Ways 3 Says a fun and important part of reading what people are really saying…

1.  This exercise should start out with the definition of what intonation or prosody is and why we use.

2.  After the child has a firm understanding of these terms start to introduce the recognition of what word is inflected for emphasis on its meaning using simple phrases such as:

“You think I did it” or “You think I stole the money

Using different prosody for the first word in the phrase YOU think I did it, then You think I DID it and finally You think I did IT and see if the student can identify the emphasized word.

After the student can identify the emphasized word, take it to the next level and see if the student can attach meaning to this emphasis…What does it imply when a person says the words like this YOU think I did it etc.

This practice makes students aware of a very invisible but crucial social cue that people give with their voice and allows them to then practice using this prosody or intonation in their speech as well.

Here is a great video that demonstrates ways to make this invisible cue more visual for students

If you have the Social Skill Builder products My Community or School Rules! CDs, these types of intonation are addressed and can be practiced with your students as well.  All of Level 4 in each of these educational software tools is dedicated to the understanding of what others are thinking feeling or saying.


As a therapist, I add another layer to this great level by asking my students to “say” or “act out” the speech bubbles that are presented with each picture.  This allows them to match intonation to the meaning behind the pictured people.  So, if the person in the picture is commenting on someones clothing and says “nice shirt” I ask the student to say it they way they person in the picture is meaning it.  This really gives me insight to how well the student is matching facial expression, environmental context, and meaning behind the words.  If they say it with no inflection I know that the student has not gotten the full picture and if it was a true compliment or a sarcastic remark.  “Nice shirt” with the inflection on Nice can indicate a compliment whereas inflection on the shirt could indicate more of a sarcastic remark about the shirt.

In middle school and high school and beyond it is critically important to read these invisible meanings behind words and our kids need the practice!

Till Next Post Keep Socially Building!  Laurie