Social skills training helps children develop the social language, emotional processing and sensory regulation skills necessary for making and keeping friends. It’s difficult to have a social interaction without processing emotions in the moment. Group themes include processing emotions, reading/using non-verbal cues, conversational skills/reciprocity, problem solving, negotiating and increasing self-awareness. We provide structured and unstructured opportunities to practice and reinforce skills. Our goal is to help children to use these skills outside of social skills groups. Areas of social language skills include: flexible thinking, attention/focus, comprehension and use of non-verbal language/gestures, emotion, perspective taking, whole body listening, problem solving, self-confidence, reciprocity and conversational skills.
Who would benefit from social skills groups?
The answer is that all children would benefit. Because creating and maintaining relationships requires the social and emotional skills that can be hard for children to learn. Here’s a profile of children we often see:
- Avoids play dates or peer social situations
- Inflexible to other’s ideas
- Difficulty joining and participating in groups
- Not able to hold age-appropriate conversations with peers
- Socially aggressive, shy or awkward
How is it different from my child participating in a group sport or social activity?
Extra-curricular programs typically focus on learning and participating in an activity but not the skills necessary for being successful in that activity with others. In our social skills groups, we model and coach the skills necessary for developing relationships while participating in a variety of activities. While on-the-spot coaching is provided by our therapist – often, the most valuable feedback comes from peers. Children learn from each other. Our play groups teach, practice, and reinforce the skills necessary for successful social relationships.
Why are social skills important?
Research has shown that these skills can be more important than academic skills for future success. Additionally, social and emotional skills help kids become good communicators, cooperative members of a team, effective leaders and caring and concerned members of their communities. These are the very skills that help children learn how to set and achieve goals and how to persist in the face of challenges. These are precisely the skills that employers will look for in the work force of the future.