Social Interaction Skills

Photos shows a group of students sitting in a circle laughing together.

Image shows a logo with two stick figures engaged in conversation.Social development starts immediately after birth and continues through the course of the lifespan. The set of knowledge and skills required to interact effectively with others is acquired and practised across several social and cultural settings at home, school, and in the community. Social Interaction Skills include awareness of body language, social communication, cooperative skills, and social etiquette.

Check out the Social Interaction Skills section in #Outreaching - the blog of the PRCVI Outreach Team.


Connections to the BC Curriculum – Core Competencies

The British Columbia K-12 Curriculum emphasizes Social Responsibility as a core competency with the goal that all students grow into active, caring, and responsible members of society. The curriculum identifies four facets of social responsibility:


  • Contributing to and caring for the environment
  • Solving problems in peaceful ways
  • Valuing diversity
  • Building relationships

Social Interaction Skills - Students with Visual Impairments

So much of communication is visual - students with visual impairments may be less able to observe the social behaviour of others. These students require that the social world be made accessible through the direct instruction of the knowledge and skills for social interaction and belonging (Sacks, 2014). 

Research has shown that adolescents with visual impairments are more likely to engage in passive (e.g., online communication) as opposed to active forms of social engagement, and that degree of vision loss is not predictive of the degree of social isolation experienced by a student (Gold, Shaw, & Wolffe, 2010). Therefore:

  • Social interaction skills need to be taught to all students with visual impairments, regardless of the extent of their vision loss
  • Instruction should support a range of opportunities for social engagement.
  • Instruction in social interaction skills not only supports competence in this area but has wider impacts on outcomes in other areas of the ECC and beyond (Botsford, 2013).

Examples of Social Interaction Skills

  • Sharing toys, games, and activities with others. Allowing others to select a play activity.
  • Complimenting and encouraging the efforts of others. Teaching the concept of “being a good sport.”
  • Understanding and interpreting sarcasm and other forms of non-literal language.

Resources to Support Instruction

PRCVI Library Catalogue

Corn, A. L., Bina, M. J., & Sacks, S. Z. (2009). Looking good: A curriculum on physical appearance and personal presentation for adolescents and young adults with visual impairments. Austin, TX: PRO-ED.

Crow, N. & Herlich, S. (2012). Getting to know you: A social skills/ability awareness curriculum. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind. [Resource Kit]

MacCuspie, P. A. (1996). Promoting acceptance of children with disabilities: From tolerance to inclusion. Halifax, NS: Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority. [Professional Text]

Sacks, S. Z., & Wolffe, K. E. (2006). Teaching social skills to students with visual impairments: From research to practice. New York, NY: AFB Press. [Professional Text]

Web-Based Resources

APH Family Connect (2019). Social Interaction Skills and the Expanded Core Curriculum. Retrieved from

Conversation StartersConversation prompts to practice having good conversations on a wide range of topics, turn-taking, asking good questions of your communication partner and getting to know others. Retrieved from

Miller, T. (n.d.). Social Skills for Children and Youth with Visual Impairments [Webinar]. Retrieved from

Miller, T. (n.d.). Issues in Social Skills & Sex Education [Webinar]. Retrieved from

  • This webinar from Perkins eLearning looks at the multiple connections between social skills and sexuality education for students with visual impairments. Topics include early connections to social skills and teaching self-protection.

Sacks, S. Z. (n.d.). Developing Social Skills in Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired [Webinar]. Retrieved from

Willoughby, D.M. (1994). Fitting in socially. Future Reflections, 14 (3). Retrieved from


Botsford, K. D. (2013). Social skills for youths with visual impairments: A meta-analysis. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 107, 497-508.  

Gold, D., Shaw, A., & Wolffe, K. (2010). The social lives of Canadian youths with visual impairments. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 104, 431-443.  

Sacks, S. Z. (2014). Social interaction. In C. B. Allman & S. Lewis (eds.) ECC Essentials: Teaching the expanded core curriculum to students with visual impairments (pp. 324-368). New York, NY: AFB Press.

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