For posts on bullying, visit The Learn to be Buddies Series Blog.
All images and posts written by and copyright to Amanda Clements (nee Gray) 2009-2012 unless otherwise indicated.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ask Amanda - response to Paula

I work with a 4th grader who has Down Syndrome. She often sees other children, who are close friends, hugging or pushing each other in joking ways. Since she is not at age level with social skills, she applies this same behavior to other children she doesn't know. She will go up to children in the lunchroom or on the playground and grab or hug them. Most children do not like this. I don't know how to explain the social do's and don'ts to her. Paula D.

Thanks for asking, Paula.

Helping your student understand complex and changeable rules can be difficult, especially if they struggle to understand abstract concepts. One of the best ways to make it more concrete is through visuals.

In this case, you may find that the best way to teach your student about appropriate hugging and touching may be through a picture.

The illustration on below is based on the colours of a traffic light - it could be presented as three separate circles as well. The idea is that the student can write names of people, or illustrate or collect pictures of specific people or types of people (eg teachers) to stick into each circle according to how she should relate to that person.

You can also write (or use symbols) in the circles to clarify under what circumstances and how you might touch a person (eg. shake hands when saying hello).

This process could be used for other social rules, but it is best to focus on one at a time so as not to be too confusing or complex for the child.

I hope that helps a little... Again, if anyone else has any suggestions, please feel free to add your ideas as a comment.


About This Blog

You are welcome to browse as you like... but please remember that everything here is copyrighted. To receive printable copies of articles that you can hand out to others, subscribe to the Learn to be Buddies newsletter at

Copyright Amanda Gray 2009-11

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP