Years 7+ Social Interaction

What is it?

A child may say words clearly and use long, complex sentences with correct grammar, but they may still present with a communication problem if they have not mastered the rules for social language.

What to expect?

In Year 7 and above (KS3 & 4) children will usually:

  • Negotiate an agreement explaining other options and possible outcomes
  • Manage and organise collaborative tasks with little adult supervision
  • Realise when people don’t fully understand and try to help them
  • Enjoy group games and explaining the rules effectively
  • Switch easily between informal and formal styles of talking depending on the audience
  • Understands sarcasm and irony

Information & advice

You can help by:

  • Use clear, simple language.
  • Be explicit about exactly what you would like the child to do, e.g. “listen to me, then it will be your turn to talk”.
  • Teach new skills in a 1:1 setting with an adult initially, then start to add peers so that the child can learn to generalise new skills.
  • When talking make sure you are face to face and make eye-contact
  • Give the child plenty of time respond and try to avoid anticipating or completing the child’s sentence
  • Use open questions, rather than closed to encourage more than yes/no responses
  • Be honest if you have not understood the child; ask them to explain again. This develops self-awareness and gives them an opportunity to repair the conversation.


  • Formal and informal- get student to practice using the different styles of language for different situations e,g in the park vs work experience interview
  • Active listening- get the children to take turns playing roles and point out what was good or bad about the different conversations
  • Explanations- Children to develop a new game/app and have to explain what its for and how to use it etc.
  • Give children topics of conversations or get them to think of topics and then ask them to discuss which topics are appropriate to discuss with friends, family and acquaintances.
  • Debate- split students into two groups ask them to formulate an argument for and against an idea given. E,g. students should not have to wear school uniform.