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30 Problem Solving Scenarios for Speech Therapy Practice
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Problem solving scenarios.
- Your friends came over to your house for a movie night. One of your friends brought another friend so there are more people than you planned for. You want to pass out the drinks but you only have five cans of soda and you need 6 for everyone to have one. What could you do?
- After basketball practice you go back to the locker room with your team to shower and change. When you are done dressing, you can't find your shoes. What could you do?
- You have been waiting all day for lunch to come because you are starving. Finally class gets over and you get to go to lunch. Except when you go to get to your lunch, it's not there. You probably left it at home. What could you do?
- There is a guy in your class who is always mean to you. He always bumps you when he walks by and he calls you names. He knocks stuff out of your hands and makes you feel stupid. You don't think you can take it anymore. What could you do?
- You really want to invite this new girl/guy to come to your birthday party, but you have never talked to them before. You are worried they will say no. What could you do?
- You rode the bus to school today and on the way in people are pointing and laughing at you. You go in the bathroom and see that you have pink gum all over the back of your pants. What could you do?
- You wake up and see that your alarm never went off. So you are starting your morning 15 minutes later than you planned. It is a really important day at school and you cannot be late. What could you do?
- You are giving a group presentation in front of class and it's your turn to talk. All of the sudden you sneeze. You cover it with your hand, but now your hand is full of stuff you sneezed out. What could you do?
- You are eating dinner at a fancy restaurant with your parents and their friends. You have a really messy dinner and accidentally flip a noodle into the lady's lap. They are busy talking and don't notice it. What could you do?
- You are taking a test and there is no talking allowed. You are writing your answers on the paper and your pencil breaks. What could you do?
- You are taking a test and the guy behind you asks you for help. He wants to know what you put for question number two. What could you do?
- You are at a birthday party and you have waited in line for a long time for your turn to hit the pinata. It is finally going to be your turn and it looks like the next hit will break the pinata. But you suddenly have to go to the bathroom. What could you do?
- You are hanging outside with your friend and she decides to pick your neighbor's flowers. She gives you the pretty handful of flowers and right then your neighbor opens the door. She asks you why you picked her flowers. What could you do?
- You borrowed your sister's skates one day without asking and they broke while you were using them. What could you do?
- You are eating at a friend's house and the mom piles your plate full of food. It looks really good and you want to eat it all but you can't because you just ate a snack. What could you do so you don't hurt her feelings?
SEE ALSO: The Best Free App for Speech Therapy
- Your teacher was working at her desk. You wanted to ask her a question, but she didn't see your hand raised. What should you do?
- You started to do your work, but you weren't sure if you were doing it right. What should you do?
- You were playing tether-ball and were the champion so far. In the next game, you slightly touched the rope. Only one student saw you touch the rope. What will you do?
- The teacher is giving directions, but your friend sitting next to you keeps talking. You can't hear the directions. What should you do?
- You didn't do your homework. Your teacher was upset with you. What should you do?
- You finished eating and felt a burp coming. What are you going to do?
- You were waiting to swing. When it was your turn, another boy jumped in front of you and took the swing. What would you do?
- You waited a long time, but your mom didn't come to pick you up after school. What should you do?
- A bully threatened to beat you up after school. What should you do?
- A boy on the playground keeps pushing you and making you mad. What would you do?
- You were sitting in class doing your work and you hear the fire alarm. What should you do?
- An adult you didn't know came on to the playground and asked if you would help look for his lost dog. What would you do?
- You forgot your lunch at home. What would you do?
- The person sitting behind you keeps tapping your chair with his foot. What should you do?
- You finished your work early. What should you do?
This list of functional words was professionally selected to be the most useful for a child or adult who has difficulty with problem solving scenarios.
We encourage you to use this list when practicing at home.
Home practice will make progress toward meeting individual language goals much faster.
Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) are only able to see students/clients 30-60 mins (or less) per week. This is not enough time or practice for someone to handle Problem solving scenarios.
Every day that your loved one goes without practice it becomes more difficult to help them.
SEE ALSO: The Best Books for Speech Therapy Practice
We know life is busy , but if you're reading this you're probably someone who cares about helping their loved one as much as you can.
Practice 5-10 minutes whenever you can, but try to do it on a consistent basis (daily).
Please, please, please use this list to practice.
It will be a great benefit to you and your loved one's progress.
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These 100 problem-solving scenarios present real-life problems that clients must navigate at school and home. Have the client discuss what they would do if…
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Teaching Problem Solving
Problem solving skills are vital to all aspects of a child’s school day. When teaching problem solving skills, it’s important to determine where the child is having the most difficulty, take a step back, and build from there. Here are some of my tips for teaching problem solving skills to students in speech therapy.
Tip #1 for Teaching Problem Solving
Understand the process . Successful problem solving is a process that begins with identifying that there is a problem, thinking through possible solutions, and then selecting and implementing the best solution to that problem. This process must begin with a child being able to understand the idea of problem and solution. This is a great starting point for students who need instruction in the most basic aspect of problem solving. I do this by providing opportunities for them to identify pictures of problems and pictures of solutions and match them together.
Use familiar problems/situations first . It’s going to be much more difficult for a child to identify a particular problem if it’s related to an experience they know nothing about. When teaching problem solving, I prefer to start out with situations that may be familiar to my students, such as having a broken pencil, feeling sick, spilling a drink, etc. These are great types of problems to begin with while building the foundation of problem solving skills. You can move on to different types of situations/problems as their skill develops.
Practice coming up with multiple solutions to a problem . When teaching problem solving skills, it’s important to practice thinking through multiple possible solutions…even if they are not all good solutions. We want children to be able to think through problems and eventually be able to choose the BEST solutions to a particular problem. For example, if the problem is a spilled drink, possible solutions could be to leave the mess and walk away, or to clean it up. Talking through each of these possible actions is great practice for children. You can discuss situations when walking away and leaving the mess might be a necessary solution, versus when cleaning up the mess would be the best solution.
Be willing to accept different solutions . Often times when teaching problem solving skills, a child may present a solution I didn’t think of. Rather than saying it’s wrong, I allow them to explain why it could be a good solution. If a student can provide an acceptable explanation, it may be a good solution. We want our students to think through situations and sometimes they may see something differently than us. This is okay!
Gradually move away from pictures . It’s so great to start out using pictures when teaching problem solving. Pictures are a great way for students to really visualize and think through a solution. It’s important to move beyond pictures, though, and work on identifying problems in paragraphs/stories. Help students listen/look for problems in books, fairy tales, fables, etc. Identify problems and talk through possible solutions. Use books/stories they are using in their classroom when at all possible.
Teaching problem solving skills is so important. We want to make sure our students understand what problems and solutions are, be able to think through multiple possible solutions, and explain why a solution might be a good one.
Here are some files you can use for teaching problem solving:
- Problem Solving Visuals (PDF)
Color Coded Matching (PDF)
- Matching (PDF)
Problem-Solving Real Photos ( Members Only PDF )
Multiple Choice Selections for Photos ( Members Only PDF )
Problem Solving Scenarios (Paragraphs) ( Members Only PDF )
Hypothetical Real-Life Problem Situations ( Members Only PDF )
- Recording Sheets ( Members Only PDF )
- 4×6 Storage Box Covers ( Members Only PDF )
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71+ Free Social Problem-Solving Scenarios
Do you have kiddos who struggle with their social problem-solving skills? Teach your students the simple process of how to solve a problem along with having them review how well their solution worked or didn’t work.
Learning to problem solve is an essential skill that is used not only throughout childhood but also into adulthood. Social problem solving is the ability to change or adapt to undesirable situations that arise throughout our day. On a daily basis, a child will encounter social problems that they will need to solve. Anything from arguing with another student, to hurting a friend’s feelings, to having a difficult conversation, or working with others.
Start with Small Problems
Many of the “problems” children encounter are often small problems which the child may be over-reacting to, such as wanting a different coloring crayon or wanting to be first in line, however, these small problems are still very real to the child. Practicing problem-solving with these small problems can be a great learning opportunity. Children can practice problem-solving with a small problem which can help them learn how to handle bigger problems in the future.
Problem Solving Importance
Social problem-solving skills are critical to a child’s social interactions, personal and professional relationships. A child’s ability to handle change, cope with stress, and handle challenges improves with a child’s ability to successfully solve social problems.
The ultimate goal is that the child will be able to solve social problems all on their own, but until they can independently solve a problem they will need to learn how to communicate and self-advocate to positively solve their problems.
Students with Autism Problem Solving
Students with autism and other social challenges need to learn to problem solve as well. These social problem-solving skills will help them throughout their childhood and into their adulthood. Children can be taught how to problem solve through a guided process of breaking down the problem and using simple steps to solve the problem. Learning specific steps to problem-solving can allow children to remember how to solve a problem when they become overwhelmed or stressed. Although learning to solve a problem independently can take some time and practice it is well worth the investment to have a child who can eventually solve most social situations in a positive manner on their own.
Make Problem Solving Easier with this Freebie!
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Problem Solving Form
Teach your students the 4 steps to becoming a social problem-solver.
- Identify the problem. For instance, start by having your student identify the social problem.
- Create three solutions. Also, have your student come up with three different solutions that they could use to solve the problem that they identified.
- Identify the consequences. Then, identify the consequence for each individual solution.
- Pick the best solution. Lastly, have your student identify which of their three solutions is the best choice Then have your student put into words why they think that solution is the best solution.
What we learnt about solving problems is don't freak out, if one thing doesn't work , try something else out. And work together as a team. #melthammathsweek #MELTHAMPUPILVOICE @problemsolveit pic.twitter.com/iVm1Im4Aue — yr6melthamce (@yr6melthamce) February 4, 2019
Problem Solving Review Form
After your students go through the social problem-solver have them use the social problem-solving review form.
- What happened. For instance, after your student tried their solution have them explain what happened next.
- Review the results. Also, have your student identify whether or not their solution got them the results they wanted.
- Use this solution again. Furthermore, have your student identify whether or not they would use this solution again in the future to solve the same or similar problem.
- What would you do differently? Finally, have your student explain what they would do differently if they didn’t get the results they wanted or if they wouldn’t use that solution again in the future.
71+ Social Problem Scenarios + 6 Blank Scenarios
Use the 71 social problem-solving scenarios to have your students get great experience practicing how to solve a social problem. Also, included are 6 blank scenarios. Then laminate them so you can use them over and over again. Therefore, create social problems that the student experiences and needs help solving.
Wordless Video teaching Problem Solving
Watch this super cute wordless animation with your students and have them discuss the problem they see and how to best solve the problem.
Use this as a fun practice example to get your students started towards learning how to problem-solve.
Demonstrate Through Modeling
- Model and discuss empathy. First and foremost, children need to understand how another person might be feeling in a given situation in order to become a good social problem solver. The student needs to learn how to “stand in someone else’s shoes” for a little bit. One way you can work on this skill is during the reading time you can focus on how a particular character in the story might be feeling. Ask questions, such as, “How do they feel right now? How would you feel in that same situation? Why do you think they feel that way?”, etc.
- Model problem-solving skills as the teacher. When you are faced with a problem you can solve the problem by thinking aloud for the students to hear how you solve a problem. You can state the problem, then come up with possible solutions, then identify the possible consequences to each solution, then pick and explain why a solution is the best option. For example, you could say, “I was hoping to take the class outside for a stress walk around the track before the reading test, but the problem is that it is raining outside. I could still take you outside, but then you will get wet, or we could walk the halls, but then we’d have to be really quiet because there are other classes learning, or we could just skip the walk and take the reading test, but then you might not do as well on the test. I think based on all of those solutions the best solution will be to walk the hallway, but you guys will have to promise to be quiet so that we don’t disrupt other classes. Modeling the problem-solving process can be very helpful for the students to watch, observe, and later implement themselves.
- Have students communicate how they are feeling . Teaching your students to share their emotions in a respectful way can improve their ability to problem-solve. Have students use an “I” sentence frame, such as, “I feel _____ (insert feeling word) when _____ (identify what made you feel that way).” For example, “I felt sad when Jackson broke my favorite pencil” or “I was mad when I wasn’t picked to be first in line. “This way students can communicate how they are feeling using honest and open communication. Teaching students to appropriately communicate their emotions can help solve some social problems from the beginning.
- Encourage your student to problem solve. If your student is struggling to problem solve independently encourage them to do so using open-ended questions, such as “How could you fix this problem?” “What would be a fair solution?” “What would happen if you used that solution?”, etc.
- Let the student try to problem solve independently. Give your students the space to try and solve their own problems using the guided strategies. Try not to come running to their rescue for every little problem. Some problems are small and a great opportunity for the student to learn and practice. If an adult does all of the problem solving for a student then what are they really learning. Give your students the time and space they need to practice solving small problems on their own. Of course, if it is a bigger or more serious problem then have an adult help guide the problem-solving process.
- Tell an adult. Remind your students that there are still some problems that are too big for them to solve on their own and that it is okay to get help from an adult to solve big problems. For example, if the student doesn’t feel safe, someone is being hurt physically or emotionally, or if they tried to solve a problem independently but it didn’t work and they need help. Let them know that it’s okay to tell an adult.
Teach How to Disagree and How to Make Up
- Discuss how to disagree respectfully. Remind your student that they won’t always agree with their teacher, friends, classmate, or parents and that’s okay. Even the people we like might have different opinions, interests, and likes than we do. However, even if we disagree with someone we should still treat them with respect. Treating someone with respect means to not call them names, ignore them, yell or hit them. It means that you do try to create solutions that both parties can agree with and to apologize when we hurt others’ feelings.
- Role-play how to make up. Practice in everyday life how to make up after a social problem .
Get your free social problem solver today!
I hope you and your students love this freebie!
Students are really having to stretch their brains today. It's @NSPCC #NumberDay and @problemsolveit are challenging Y9 and 10 to solve the escape room boxes. It's not as easy as it looks! The promise of a few sweet treats for the winners seems to be helping though! pic.twitter.com/AxRRJnJIv2 — CongletonHS (@CongletonHS) February 2, 2018
Have your students use task card scenarios to help them identify how they and others might feel in different social scenarios. Be sure to discuss the problem, identify possible solutions, identify the consequences of those possible solutions, and then based on those consequences pick the best solution. Make social problem-solving a game by telling the students that they are social detectives and that it is their job to use what they know about social rules to help them identify the possible and best solutions. Start practicing today with 71+ free social problem social task cards! Do your students need more practice? Be sure to check out my other freebie for 31 wordless animated videos to teach problem-solving and so much more.
Get More Problem Solving Time Saving Materials
Next, be sure to check out the following time-saving materials to continue to teach your students how to solve their social problems in addition to this freebie.
Weekly Social Pragmatics Homework
- Weekly problem-solving. Send home a weekly homework page that includes a problem-solving scenario plus an idiom and a conversational practice scenario.
Restorative Justice Problem Solving Flip Book
- Restorative justice graphic visual. Use this graphic visual to help your student restore a social relationship after a social problem.
Self-Advocating Role-Play Scenarios
- Self-advocating in high school. Teach your high schoolers the process to self-advocate for what they need.
5th-12th Grade Life Skills Problem Solving
- Life skills problem-solving. In addition, this life skills differentiated bundle includes a problem-solving lesson plan.
I recommend you read Problem Solving Wheel: Help Kids Solve Their Own Problems , 61+ Free Fillable SLP Planner Pages 2020-2021 , 430+ Free Multisyllabic Words List Activity Bundle , or 432+ Free IEP Goal Bank to Save You Time posts because they include freebies as well and who doesn’t want more freebies!
Got questions? Leave a comment. Let’s chat!
Monday 30th of January 2023
Hello! I have entered my name and email twice (yesterday & today) to receive to 71+ Free Social Problem-Solving Senarios, but I have not received anything yet. Not even an email back to mine in order to subcribe. Thanks for your help! Tracy
Tuesday 31st of January 2023
Hi Tracy, Thanks so much for reaching out! Sorry about that. We went ahead and sent you an email with the PDF attached. Wishing you all my best, Melissa
Problem Solving Skills
Tuesday 30th of August 2022
I truly love your site. Excellent colors, theme and writing. Thanks for sharing.
Monday 11th of April 2022
Tuesday 12th of April 2022
Hi Laura, I'm glad you found this resource helpful. Melissa
Modified Mental Health and Suicide Prevention - Speech Therapy Store
Monday 11th of May 2020
[…] 71+ FREE SOCIAL PROBLEM-SOLVING SCENARIOS […]
Problem Solving Wheel: Help Kids Solve Their Own Problems - Speech Therapy Store
Monday 4th of May 2020
[…] 71+ Free Social Problem Solving Task Cards Scenarios […]
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Speech therapy materials for pediatric SLPs
Problem Solving Scenarios
This problem solving resource for speech therapy facilitates improved understanding of problems, their causes, and how to solve problems including a self-advocacy component.
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This resource follows a consistent process for discussing problems and their solutions: cause (What caused the problem?), problem (What is the problem? Why is it a problem?), feelings (How does everyone involved feel? Why?), solutions (What are some solutions? What should be done to fix it?), and say/self-advocacy (What could you/the person say to help solve the problem?).
This resource includes:
- Graphic Organizers
- Problem-Solving Strategy Ideas
- Intro Teaching Scenarios (6)
- 70 Real Pictures (in both task cards and a printable worksheet format)
- Social Scenarios (10)
- Low-Tech AAC Board
- Data Sheet for Progress Monitoring
This resource focuses less on getting students to find the “right” solution to a problem, and more on how to approach problem-solving by analyzing the history/cause of the situation, taking the perspective of other people in the situation to identify their feelings, describing the problem in depth, naming possible solutions, and last, identifying what can be said to help solve the problem or communicate to others about the problem.
Feel free to email the Speechy Musings team at [email protected] with any questions!
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Home » Blog » General » Speech Therapy Strategies for Effective Problem Solving
Speech Therapy Strategies for Effective Problem Solving
Welcome to my blog! In today’s post, we will be discussing the importance of problem-solving skills in social-emotional development and how speech therapy can enhance these abilities. Problem-solving is a crucial skill that allows individuals to navigate challenges and find effective solutions. By addressing speech and language difficulties, we can empower individuals to become confident problem solvers. Let’s dive in!
A. importance of problem-solving skills in social-emotional development.
Problem-solving skills play a vital role in social-emotional development. They enable individuals to navigate interpersonal conflicts, make informed decisions, and manage emotions effectively. By developing these skills, individuals can build resilience and adaptability, leading to improved overall well-being.
B. Role of speech therapy in enhancing problem-solving abilities
Speech therapy is an invaluable resource for individuals who struggle with communication and language skills. Through targeted interventions, speech therapists can help individuals develop the necessary skills to become effective problem solvers. By addressing language and social communication difficulties, speech therapy equips individuals with the tools they need to navigate complex social situations and solve problems effectively.
II. Understanding the Basics of Problem Solving
A. definition of problem solving.
Problem solving is the process of identifying, analyzing, and finding solutions to challenges or obstacles. It involves a series of steps that enable individuals to approach problems systematically and make informed decisions.
B. Components of effective problem solving
Effective problem solving consists of several key components:
- Identifying the problem: Recognizing and defining the issue at hand.
- Generating possible solutions: Brainstorming and considering different options.
- Evaluating and selecting the best solution: Assessing the pros and cons of each option and choosing the most appropriate one.
- Implementing the chosen solution: Putting the selected solution into action.
- Reflecting on the outcome: Assessing the effectiveness of the chosen solution and making adjustments if necessary.
III. Speech Therapy Strategies for Enhancing Problem Solving Skills
Speech therapy offers a range of strategies to enhance problem-solving skills. Let’s explore some of these strategies:
A. Developing Language and Communication Skills
- Building vocabulary and expressive language abilities: Expanding an individual’s vocabulary and helping them express their thoughts and ideas clearly.
- Improving receptive language skills for better understanding: Enhancing an individual’s ability to comprehend and interpret verbal and non-verbal cues.
- Enhancing verbal reasoning and critical thinking abilities: Promoting logical thinking and the ability to analyze information effectively.
B. Promoting Social Skills and Perspective-Taking
- Teaching active listening and empathy: Helping individuals develop active listening skills and understand others’ perspectives.
- Encouraging perspective-taking and understanding different viewpoints: Fostering the ability to consider multiple perspectives when problem solving.
- Facilitating effective communication and negotiation skills: Equipping individuals with the tools to communicate their needs and collaborate with others to find solutions.
C. Fostering Executive Functioning Skills
- Enhancing planning and organization abilities: Teaching individuals how to break down problems into manageable steps and create action plans.
- Developing flexible thinking and problem-solving strategies: Encouraging individuals to think outside the box and explore alternative solutions.
- Improving self-regulation and impulse control: Helping individuals manage their emotions and make thoughtful decisions.
D. Utilizing Visual Supports and Tools
- Implementing visual schedules and task organizers: Providing visual aids to help individuals understand and follow a sequence of steps.
- Using visual cues and prompts for problem-solving steps: Offering visual reminders of the problem-solving process.
- Incorporating visual aids for understanding and expressing emotions: Using visual tools to help individuals recognize and communicate their emotions effectively.
IV. Collaborating with Parents and Caregivers
Parents and caregivers play a crucial role in supporting the development of problem-solving skills. Here are some ways speech therapists can collaborate with them:
A. Providing education and resources on problem-solving strategies
Speech therapists can educate parents and caregivers about effective problem-solving strategies and provide resources to reinforce these skills at home.
B. Encouraging consistent practice and reinforcement at home
Consistent practice is key to developing problem-solving skills. Speech therapists can encourage parents and caregivers to incorporate problem-solving activities into daily routines.
C. Establishing open communication channels for progress updates
Open communication between speech therapists, parents, and caregivers allows for progress updates and ensures that everyone is working together to support the individual’s problem-solving development.
In conclusion, problem-solving skills are essential for social-emotional development, and speech therapy plays a crucial role in enhancing these abilities. By addressing language and communication difficulties, speech therapists empower individuals to become confident problem solvers. If you or someone you know is struggling with problem-solving skills, I encourage you to seek professional help and support. Start your EverydaySpeech Free trial today and embark on a journey towards effective problem solving!
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Notice About Our SEL Curriculum
Our SEL Curriculum is currently in a soft product launch stage and is only available by Site License. A Site License is currently defined as a school-building minimum or a minimum cost of $3,000 for the first year of use. Individual SEL Curriculum licenses are not currently available based on the current version of this product.
By clicking continue below, you understand that access to our SEL curriculum is currently limited to the terms above.