An Interview with Janet Giler: Teaching The Rules

Michael Shaughnessy,

1)      Janet, you have a book on teaching students some social skills and rules. How did this book come about?

The book is a result of almost 20 years of work with children and adults with ADHD and Learning Disabilities when I realized how important it was to teach social skills to children because there are a group of children that do not learn without the rules clarified and explained.  Children also benefit from practice with constructive feedback so that they can see if they are doing the skills correctly.

2)      Who exactly is this geared toward?

Socially ADDept is for parents, teachers and professionals –anyone who is working or living with a child with ADHD, Learning Disabilities or Asperger’s Syndrome who needs to know more about why their child is having social problems and more importantly, what they can do about it.

3)      Janet, when a child is evaluated for a learning difficulty or disability, often social skills scales are not given, nor are adaptive behavior scales. What should parents say about this?

There are some good social skills rating systems particularly the one by Gresham and Elliott.   Social problems are not a diagnostic criteria.  They may be a result of a learning or attentional problem, but lots of children have problems that are not a result of ADHD or LD.

4)      Have you made your work available to guidance counselors?

Absolutely!  We plan to have Socially ADDEpt available at the NASP conference next month in San Francisco.

5)      Who do you see as responsible for teaching courtesy, common sense, and good social skills?

Everyone including  parents, teachers, other children, Television, other significant adults .

6)      Often people blame video games, texting and too much t.v. on the fact that the current crop of adolescents have poor social skills. Your thoughts?

I don’t think that all the technology is helping social skills particularly.  When you text, you don’t see body language nor hear tone.  These are two important elements that cue you into the real emotional state of the person speaking to you.  I don’t see how that can be conveyed when you  text….video chatting would be better.

Video games are responsible for more violent thoughts and some children are showing up with a new “gaming” addiction.

7)      Other individuals believe the single parent family is to “blame“ for poor interpersonal skills?

I don’t think single parent families are to blame for poor social skills.

8)      For students with intellectual disabilities, what kinds of goals and objectives should go into the IEP?

When you say intellectual disabilities, you need to focus on what behaviors or skills are lacking and what is to be remediated and how.

9)      How can people get a copy of your book?

From my website

From or your local bookstore can order a copy.

10)  What have I neglected to ask?

Nothing !- Thanks for taking the time to interview me regarding the book.

Michael F. Shaughnessy is the Senior Columnist for

Used with the permission of

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