The Green Zone: Common Ground Conversation Training method for kids on the autism spectrum

 

 

 

To download Green Zone Common Ground Conversation Worksheets, and a very useful, illustrated card activity, click on both red links below.

Green Zone Common Ground Conversation Starter Worksheets Download

Green Zone Picture Card Activity

This is the Green Zone Two-Person Worksheet. It is a simple and effective device to help two people determine their shared interests. It works best if two people write on it at the same time.

This is the Questions, Compliments and Comments prompt sheet.

 Children with Autism and Common Ground in Conversation

 It is very often the case that children on the autism spectrum learn much better when clear, meaningful visuals are provided for them.  To teach the concept of common ground in conversation, I have found no visual more useful than the Venn Diagram. I wrote a children’s book based on it, The Green Zone Conversation Book.  Try out the worksheets, and if you like them, do consider checking out my book.

The Green Zone Conversation Book.  If you like the worksheets here, check out my book.

The Green Zone Conversation Book. If you like the worksheets here, check out my book.

Here are two pages from my 96-page Green Zone Conversation Book. It has hundreds of photos as well as dozens of simple worksheets.

Here are two pages from my 96-page Green Zone Conversation Book. It has hundreds of photos as well as dozens of simple worksheets.

The “Green Zone” is a visual representation of common ground between one person (blue) and the other person (yellow) to create a “green zone” that represents the pair’s shared zone of interests. All children seem to “get” this idea.  It works with young children, and older children and teens are not put off by its simplicity.

My book, The Green Zone Conversation Book, (published Fall 2014 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers), uses this Venn Diagram concept, and hundreds of appealing photos, to help children to learn more about the diverse interests of other people.

The free downloads in this blog post allow you to sample the technique.  I hope you like it.

Suggested language to use when introducing the Green Zone to students:

“When you are talking to someone, it seems easy to talk about just what YOU want  But it’s not fair for you to make other people hear something just because you want to say it. It is much better to talk in The Green Zone.  This means you are talking about things that you and the other person both like.  You are mixing your interests together. People like it much better when you do this.”

I think you will find the Venn Diagram worksheet works well with children to help them learn how to reference other people’s interests in conversation.

Joel Shaul, LCSW

PS:

In response to requests for the lyrics to the “Green Zone Song” I perform in my workshop presentations, here are the lyrics below.

[To the tune of "We Will Rock You" by Queen]

When you talk, don’t just talk

Listen to what they say back to you

When you do, people like it

And maybe they’ll keep talking to you.

In the, in the Green Zone (two times)

Think about what’s – in their mind

Maybe it’s in – your mind too

When you do, people like it

And maybe they’ll keep talking to you

In the, in the Green Zone [two times]

 The Conversation Train Book

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