Updated: Oct 16, 2020
Human beings are pretty sociable and lack of social skills can often result in missing out great opportunities in school and jobs. Further, not being able to make friends, or keeping up with conversations. Thus, resulting in poor or no self-esteem, whatsoever. During the pandemic, there is a lack of socialization between children which is affecting their development of Social Skills even more. It is essential to stimulate and increase activities at home that can help children, in this aspect.
However, In order to improve social skills, we first must understand what they are!
This blog will help parents and professionals understand the different learners who have Autism, ADHD and similar social skills challenges.
Our aim is to make the child learn how to:
Discover his friend’s interests in order to be able to talk about them.
Choose a topic of interest to his friend and avoid focusing on his own special interests.
Show he is listening with appropriate body language, making eye contact and comments.
Respond to a friend with appropriate follow-up questions and follow-up comments.
Identify when a topic is in progress and not barge in a group conversation.
Participate in multi-turn conversations, remaining on-topic and showing interest in his friends, and many more.
Some Social Skills are:
Making new friends: Struggles include making friends, being a part of a group, problem-solving, nonverbal communication and expressing feelings.
Cooperating and Sharing: Whether it is cooperating with an adult or whilst in a game, cooperating is an important feature of social skills. Same goes for sharing, sharing a toy or snack is an important trait when it comes to interacting with others.
Turn-Taking: A child should have the knowledge of when his/her turn will come to talk. This understanding is important in order to be a part of the conversations.
Initiating and maintaining a conversation: To be able to effectively communicate in a conversation is one of the most important social skills.
Good Listening Skills and showing empathy: In order to make friends and meaningful conversations, good listening is crucial. Listening is not just hearing what the other person is saying but absorbing the information.
Following directions: from doing something as minor as doing your chores to following the rules of a game, following directions help you in being an effective part of today’s society.
Self-regulating and using coping strategies: self-control and regulating one’s behaviour is a must, in any social situation.
Social cues: these cues can be visual or auditory, these cues can help in deciphering a situation and to realize an appropriate reaction to any situation.
Apologizing: apologizing is understanding one’s mistake and communicating so. In order to maintain any relation or
Dealing with anger and frustration.
These are some of the Social Skills that are important and should be worked upon if your loved one is lacking them.
In which disorders will the child’s social skills lack?
The commonly seen disorders where the child may lack social skills are:
Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Non-verbal Learning Disability (NVLD)
Social Communication Disorder (SCD)
Receptive and Expressive language disorders.
How does Autism affect social skills?
One of the core aspects of Autism Spectrum Disorder is social dysfunction. It refers to various conditions that can be characterized by difficulties with social skills, repetitive behaviours, speech and nonverbal communication. They may find it difficult to initiate or maintain conversations or to pick up on social cues. Some people with autism may be non-verbal and may not talk at all, whereas, others may talk really well. Regardless, all of them will face some challenges in making friends and communicating socially.
It may be challenging for a person with autism to:
Share attention & give it to the same object/activity as someone else.
Share toys or play with others
Respond to others when they invite to play or talk
Understand the feelings of others
Taking turns in play or in conversation
Making & keeping friends
What can parents do to help?
Parents can help and incorporate positive behaviour. They should consult a Speech Therapist as soon as they are able to notice some red flags in their child. The journey of children with Autism might not be easy. Diligence, hard work and patience are just some of the attributes parents need to inhibit. However, we should not be discouraged. It is important to focus on the progress rather than the negative aspects. The progress of each child will depend on several factors but there will definitely be progress. Aside from this, regular counselling and some intensive Speech and Language Therapy will definitely be useful. Lack of social skills is one of the primary symptoms of ASD. However, with enough stimulation and activities, it can be managed.
How will social skills training or intervention help?
Social Skills are some communicative skills that are used to communicate within a society, they can be verbal and non-verbal. They are an integral part of functioning effectively in society. It is the ability to interact with people through effective listening & communication. This is one of the most important skills that not only kids & children, but also adolescents need to develop. Displaying good manners, communicating effectively with others, being considerate of the feelings of others and expressing personal needs are all important components of solid social skills.
Training or intervention can help children build and improve their social skills as it is an important component of treatment and is crucial to better negotiating social situations. Aside from using beneficial evidence-based practices, an intervention can also stimulate and enable peer interaction and appropriate social interactions.
What does a social skills program involve?
As we have already learnt that social skills are used to communicate effectively with one all. These skills are used to function well and appropriately in society. For all the children who lack social skills due to a disorder, delay or lack of stimulation, an intervention is important. A social skills program consists of a positive environment where children with lack of social skills or an associated disorder participate, in a group setting. These kinds of programs are usually led by a Speech-Language Pathologist.
A social skills program can include the following:
1) Activities in a group setting
2) Model and practice conversations in social settings.
3) Activities of Problem Solving and Reasoning
4) A fun and supportive environment to learn
5) Learn various social expectations and deviations
It will also help children in the following ways:
They will be able to recognize emotions in themselves and others
They will express feelings in appropriate ways
They will be able to cope with feelings of anger and anxiety
They will be able to communicate and play with others
They will learn to cope with teamwork, games and ‘losing’
They will learn to cope with mistakes
They may detect and understand bullying
They may acknowledge personal strengths and goals.
Our Social Skills Program is for children who have difficulties with social skills. To know more, check out https://www.sounderic.com/social-skills-program
You can also learn 6 ways to work on your child' social skills during the ongoing Pandemic! https://www.sounderic.com/post/6-ways-to-work-on-your-child-s-social-skills-during-the-ongoing-pandemic
We have also created a Workbook for Social Skills that your loved one can practise from the comfort of their homes! https://www.sounderic.com/product-page/social-skills-worksheet