The Bridge School
Self-Determination Program

Activity 8: Social Networks

Know your AAC: Students use the Social Networks tool to identify, chart and discuss their social circles of communication partners.

Social Networks is a communication inventory for people with complex communication needs and their communication partners.

Purpose

Students use the Social Networks tool to identify, chart and discuss their social circles of communication partners. Students use the circles chart to identify which communication tools they use with different people. Students share their results.

Activity

For this activity, create a summary chart for the Social Networks tool with your students in which the people in their lives are plotted into the circles.

Life partners are placed in circle 1. Good friends go in circle 2. Acquaintances are in circle 3. Paid partners, like therapists and teachers go in circle 4. And finally, unfamiliar partners go in circle 5.

Then, students use the circles summary chart of Social Networks to identify which communication tools they use on a daily basis with different people.

Students share their results and discuss in small groups how everyone uses different communication tools at different times, with different people.

Discussion questions may include:

  • Why do you think some people choose to email certain people, versus calling them on the phone?
  • What is your favorite way to communicate with someone you don't know very well? Why?
  • What is your favorite tool to use to stay "in" the conversation and hold the conversational "floor"?

Through talking and thinking explicitly about the different ways they communicate and the choices they make (or may not be making) in terms of which communication tools to use and when, students increase awareness of themselves and their AAC systems and strategies.