Helping pupils improve relationships
This section provides guidance on how to apply cognitive–behavioural methods to help pupils with BESD improve their social relationships. This is particularly suitable for pupils who find it difficult to work with others, have difficulty coping with frustration or get angry or aggressive in social encounters. The techniques can be used with small groups of pupils or whole classes.
A step-by-step process for methodically and efficiently helping pupils to handle complex social situations in a variety of contexts is provided. This includes examining social interaction problems in a conscious and careful way, and generating a number of feasible solutions, which can create a sense of control over an event.
Problem-solving is a critical skill. Deliberate and thoughtful decision-making does not guarantee satisfactory outcomes for all parties involved. Ultimately, however, with problem-solving skills, your pupils should be empowered to take control of situations and make better decisions.
A major problem for many pupils with BESD is their difficulty in relating to others (both peers and adults) (Kauffman, 2001). Often, the problem is associated with the pupil’s lack of social awareness. For example, they may not be able to understand certain social behaviour, put themselves in other people’s shoes, recognise other people’s emotional state, etc or they find it hard to manage their emotions in social contexts. Inability to do such things results in making inappropriate responses and creates conflict. This section offers guidance on how to help pupils develop and improve appropriate skills, and become effective at solving social problems.