Traditional approaches to social skill development may often be ineffective for those in most need of them - those who are neuro-diverse (for example, on the Autism Spectrum, with dyspraxia, or with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), those who have experienced trauma, those with an intellectual disability and those who present with Complex Communication Needs. This may be due to difficulties with language, attention and memory.
Storying Beyond Social Difficulties with Neuro-Diverse Adolescents is a manual that outlines an eight-session programme, called "Imagine, Create, Belong", that involves a range of activities designed to develop theory of mind, flexible thinking, empathy and narrative ability. The sessions can be run across 8 or 16 weeks and contain sections suitable for those in mainstream schools, with adaptations to support adolescents with additional needs (including moderate intellectual disability and Complex Communication Needs). The manual does this via a range of age-appropriate play-based activities within a group setting focused on making a movie. It includes non-verbal and verbal approaches to social development and is an implicit approach to social skills.
The programme is suitable for young people aged 11 years to 15 years with social difficulties. It includes content that may suit adolescents from both individualist and collectivist cultures. The manual provides step-by-step guidance for practitioners to run the "Imagine, Create, Belong" social skills programme with participants with a range of intellectual abilities who have been identified by parents, teachers or other professionals as having social difficulties.