DRAMATIC PRAGMATICS Social Language Groups:

We are well known for our "Dramatic Pragmatic" groups which were created by Barbara and Alexandra to improve pragmatic language, social skills, and language-based social thinking. The world often assumes that a bright, academically achieving child or teen will automatically and intuitively learn social skills from their environment and experiences. However, for many children and teens, their social development is not commensurate with their intelligence and acquiring the skills necessary to navigate the social world is not intuitive. To achieve social success and master subtleties of the "social code", pragmatic language and social skills must be taught in a systematic way and carried over to the home and school when possible. We also believe that these sessions must be fun, age-appropriate and engaging, as the most effective learning occurs when children are actively engaged. The goal of our groups in to arm and empower each student with the tools of social communication using:

  • Role-play/drama to practice and to "try on" verbal and non-verbal pragmatic language skills
  • Improvisation to improve listening skills, perspective taking, non-verbal language, reading social cues, reacting appropriately to others.
  • Our unique program of original visual conversational symbols (TM) and other visuals to increase acquisition of social pragmatic concepts
  • Cooperative "teamwork" games and structured activities to teach the skill sets, to practice them as well as to increase social problem solving and social thinking
  • On the spot, non-punitive "feedback" when social mistakes or misperceptions occur using our "social rewind" and re-do strategies
  • The community as a classroom when appropriate to generalize skills
  • Our downstairs recreation room, "The Dugout," to facilitate skills in a naturalistic environment
  • A consistent use of "our Dramatic Pragmatic" lingo across all environments to help our students identify, practice and carryover these skills
  • Parent feedback after each session about specific skills worked on and lingo/concepts to carry-over at home for pre-school and elementary school aged groups

In addition, some of our Dramatic Pragmatic groups employ theater games and specific use of monologues and "dialoguing", (our original techniques which help groups of students practice and develop social pragmatic skills). The drama games we use foster skills in social interaction such as:

  • Timing
  • Reciprocity
  • Topic initiation, maintenance, and closing conversations
  • Flexibility
  • Noticing, understanding and reacting to complex non verbal cues
  • Expected tone of voice and volume
  • Appropriate facial expression, body language, eye contact
  • Displaying appropriate affect
  • Perspective-Talking

During group, general pragmatic language and social skills goals are addressed, as are the individual needs of each student. We believe that creating appropriately matched groups is VITAL to the success of each child's learning process and creating a positive learning experience. Therefore, we meet each child for a consultation and assess their strengths and weaknesses in the social domain and get to know them as a "whole child". When creating groupings, we take interests, personality types, specific strengths and areas of weakness into account. Having a practice of well over 250 clients, we have a large pool of children and teens to create the RIGHT groups to maximize the therapeutic learning process. We do not believe it is effective to group children solely based on age and schedule! Therefore, our scheduling/grouping process is quite complex, but is highly effective.