Problem solving

Problem solving is important for daily living and social situations but it can be difficult for children with communication and learning difficulties. Solving problems requires thinking and language skills. We need to solve problems as we deal with learning, daily life and social situations.

Children may have difficulties if:

  • The problem is new or unique
  • The child has difficulties with understanding meaning, vocabulary or concepts associated with the problem.
  • The child has difficulty with higher level or abstract thinking
  • The child has difficulty understanding the perspective of others

Problem solving skills include:

  • Predicting “What will happen…?”
  • Stating opinions “I think…….”
  • Formulating conclusions “What happened is….”
  • Questioning “What, where, who?”
  • Making inferences “I think this ….”
  • Determining causes “Why?”
  • Sequencing “This happened, then…..”
  • Comprehending negative questions “Why didn’t….?”

To help students develop their problem solving skills you can work through problems with them using these questions as a framework for each step along the way.

Define the problem

  • What happened?
  • How does each person feel?
  • What does each person want?

Analyse the problem

  • How do we know that…?
  • What happened first, next, last?
  • Why did this happen?
  • What did each person want or need?
  • What did each person do?
  • What did each person say?
  • How did each person feel?

Generate solutions

  • What could we/he/they do?
  • What could we/he/they say?
  • What things could meet these needs/wants?
  • What things would help these feelings?

Analyse solutions

  • What might happen?
  • What would come next?
  • What could happen if?
  • How would he/you feel if?

Choose a solution

  • Why could/should we….?
  • Why could/couldn’t we…..?
  • What would happen if….?

Plan the solution

  • What do we do?
  • What should we do next?

Evaluate the solution

  • What happened?
  • How does each person feel?
  • What does each person want?
  • How do we know that…?
  • How are things different?
  • What could we do differently next time?

To practice using this model you can:

  • Apply the model to problems in books
  • Apply the model to situtations in movies and fairy tales
  • Apply the model to problems in lessons
  • Apply the model to problems in real life interactions

If you are concerned about your child's communication skills, social skills or learning browse our website to see how a speech pathologist may be able to help. For more ideas and resources for developing children's speech, language, learning and social skills check the resources section on our website and our extensive pintrest page. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter so you don't miss out on what's happening.

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