Some kids learn to say “please” and “thank you” and to wait their turn by watching others. But kids with learning and thinking differences might not pick up on common social interactions simply through observation. If your child struggles with social skills, a social skill group could help.
Social skill include far more than the ability to communicate with other people. They’re crucial to making friends, succeeding in school and, later in life, getting and keeping a job. Here are answers to common questions parents have about social skill groups.
What are social skills groups?
Social skill groups are small groups (typically two to eight kids) led by an adult who teaches the kids how to interact appropriately with others their age. They can help kids learn conversational, friendship and problem-solving skills. They can also be useful in teaching kids to control their emotions and understand other people’s perspectives.
A school psychologist or a speech therapist might lead a social skill in school. Groups are also offered privately, outside of school.
How do social skills groups work?
Maybe the kids in the group have trouble starting a conversation—or keeping one going. Or perhaps they don’t understand body language. The group facilitator leads kids through exercises to learn the skills needed to deal with whatever challenge they’re facing. Most of these meetings include a chance for kids to role-play or practice social skill—and to get feedback on how they’re doing.
What are the benefits of social skill groups?
Kids can learn important skills that they’ll use the rest of their lives. This includes learning how to:
- Greet others
- Start a conversation
- Respond to others
- Maintain a conversation
- Share and take turns
- Ask for help
Which children can benefit most from social skill ?
Social skill groups are best for kids who aren’t developing social skill as quickly as their peers. This may include kids with ADHD, who can be too active and physical in their play. It may include kids with nonverbal learning disabilities, who may have trouble picking up on social cues, like body language, tone of voice and facial expressions. It may also include kids with social communication challenges and other types of learning or behavior issues.
When searching for a social skill for your child, look for one that’s geared for your child’s specific issues (for example, ADHD) and meant for kids who are around your child’s age