Social Skills, Supports, and Networks in Adolescent Transition Education

Authored by: Laura T. Eisenman , Sarah A. Celestin

Handbook of Adolescent Transition Education for Youth with Disabilities

Print publication date:  December  2011
Online publication date:  March  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415872782
eBook ISBN: 9780203837320
Adobe ISBN: 9781136869761


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Laying a foundation for adult social relationships in the community, further education, and at work is a central task of transition services for adolescents with disabilities. Halpern (1994) noted that developing “effective personal and social relationships may be the most important of all the transition goals” (p. 120, italics in original). In the special education literature, approaches to developing personal and social relationships often focus on increasing students’ social skills and social competence (see for example, Alwell & Cobb, 2007; Gresham, Sugai, & Horner, 2001). Social skills refer to particular behaviors that individuals employ to participate in a social interaction. Shaking hands, initiating a conversation, or requesting assistance are examples of social skills. Social competence refers to using such skills in ways that are valued by others within a specific culture or context. Knowing with whom and when to shake hands as well as moderating the strength of one’s handshake to avoid negative judgments from others are both examples of social competence.

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