What are social skills? In the past, there was a tendency to think about social skills as something a person had or didn't have. You were either born with it, or not! Social skills were thought of as a vague, unteachable construct. However, if you think about it, social skills can be broken down into two sets of behaviors: behaviors that one should do (Green behaviors), and behaviors that one should avoid doing (Red behaviors). With this type of framework, someone who displays Red behaviors needs to learn to stop doing them while someone who doesn’t know what to do or say in a given situation needs to learn the Greens. Children and adults who are either doing Reds or not doing Greens may have social learning difficulties.
The good news is that there is a simple set of strategies, that when used properly, can speed up the social learning process. The Red and Green Learning System (based on the traffic light system which implies that green means go and red means stop,) uses six simple steps to teach any social behaviors:
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