Conversation Skills

Learning how to navigate the give and take of conversations can be tough for all kids. Some kids with special needs find this even harder to master. Here are 5 free checklists you can use to help teach this super important life skill.

Download now from Teachers Pay Teachers

The first checklist covers basic conversation etiquette. As adults, most of us intuitively do all of these things without thinking about it anymore. But if you imagine a typical 3-year-old, things like remembering to pause to listen to the other person, and responding to their chosen topic instead of changing the subject to what they want to talk about, can be tricky. Let’s be honest, even some adults have trouble with these skills! It’s worth it to talk explicitly about how to do this and help kids learn how have good conversations!

The second checklist can help kids think of topics to discuss. They may find this list especially useful when they’re trying to make a new friend. If you’re an adult, give this list some serious consideration too! I’ve been an adult for a long time, and I’m often surprised how often I’m in a social situation where I interact with people for multiple hours, and they don’t ask me a single question about myself. Everyone loves to talk about themselves! Remember that’s true of you and also of the person you’re talking to, so after you’ve shared for a while about yourself, ask them some questions about themselves. They’ll have fond memories of talking to you if they had a nice chance to talk about themselves.

The three lists on the right are all about how to interrupt a conversation. Given how often adults tell kids “don’t interrupt” we know that this is a tough one for kids! Special needs kids may have an extra hard time knowing how and when to insert themselves into a conversation – it’s tricky! Practice all of these scenarios with your kids (or special needs adults) to help them learn how to find the right kind of pause and then politely assert themselves.

You can print all of these lists for free as a group or individually. You can also use The Trip Clip website to edit these to add or remove things that are specific to your child. Learn more on The Trip Clips website.

Here’s feedback I received from a teacher who used these kids with her students:

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