That Was Unexpected!

Enrichment Therapies

February 26, 2017

Does your child have difficulty knowing how to act in certain situations? Does he or she occasionally act in a way that is unexpected and might make others around them feel uncomfortable?

At Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center (ETLC) we utilize materials from the Social Thinking Curriculum, specifically teaching through “Expected vs. Unexpected Behaviors” by Michelle Garcia Winner. First, teach your child what types of behaviors would be “expected” and what behaviors are “unexpected.” You may also want to specify the location you are talking about. For example, at home it is an expected behavior that you take your shoes off at the door; however, at school, it is unexpected to take your shoes off at the door. We will focus on classroom etiquette examples in this post. Here is a handout you can print out to hang in your own home to help your child with this concept. Read a variety of behaviors your child might do and have them sort which things are expected behaviors and which things would be unexpected behaviors. You could also set up containers with labels that say “Expected” and “Unexpected” – read different social scenarios to your child and have them sort the scenarios into each container. Print out this pre-made expected vs. unexpected sorting game made by Brittany Alexander, M.S., CCC-SLP!

Expected Behaviors – Listening to the teacher – Sharing with our friends – Walking in a line in the hallway – Sitting quietly at our desk – Doing all of our work without complaining Unexpected Behaviors – Bossing our classmates around – Throwing our pencil in class – Picking our nose – Interrupting others – Yelling in the library

Now that your child understands this concept, try using it during a moment of unexpected behavior. For example, if your child does something that would be considered “unexpected” you could ask your child to reflect on what they did and ask if they thought it was expected or unexpected. Next, ask them to tell you why that wasn’t an expected behavior and what they could do next time instead. Talk with them about how unexpected behaviors might make others around them feel! You could create a chart that says  “expected” or  “unexpected”  on one side and then on the other side “how it makes my friends feel.” Remind your child that these are hard things to learn and you are proud of them 🙂

Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center has locations in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. We provide individual speech-language therapy and tutoring as well as offering small group academic programs.  At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success.  Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.

740 Community Drive, Unit A

North Liberty, IA 52317


5530 West Pkwy, Suite 300

Johnston, IA 50131


Related Posts

Stress-Free Holidays

Navigating the Holidays with Children who Struggle in Social Situations By Haley Hall,...