People develop their social skills at different stages throughout their lives. For example, we have a different set of social expectations for a three year old than we do a thirteen year old. The former can throw a temper tantrum and you might shrug it off, whereas if the latter does so you it might be cause for concern.
There are a wide variety of social skills for children to develop during their lives. But different areas of neurodivergence – including autism spectrum disorder, ADD/ADHD, sensory processing disorder, speech disorders, and much more – can cause issues with social skills development.
Left untreated, children with poor social skills struggle with making and keeping friends, may have challenges with advocating for their needs or get into trouble at school. For adults, limitations in social skills can lead to difficulty in careers, romantic life, and with interpersonal relationships.
However, there is hope.
Social Skills Groups At New Horizons Wellness Services
Here at New Horizons Wellness Services, we offer a range of social skills groups depending on your age and developmental level. These groups are designed to teach critical social skills that you or your child are having difficulty picking up in your natural environment. You’ll learn these skills in an environment that’s structured, but feels natural. The idea is to generally recreate the conditions of everyday life to prepare you for such situations.
Some of the key components of each curriculum include:
- Initiating interactions with peers
- Taking turns
- Understanding and following rules
- How to resolve conflicts
- Being aware of social cues
- Understanding and recognizing non verbal cues
- Regulating your emotions
- Understanding others’ perspectives
- Maintaining age appropriate conversations
Social skills are an important part of life no matter your age. There are three main processes lying beneath our social skills.
Let’s take a closer look at them.
When you or your child sees things in a social situation, it may or may not have to do with actual vision. Rather, it has to do with being able to pick up on social cues and make sense of the situation.
Seeing includes things that can broadly be categorized as “understanding context”. Things like:
Understanding the setting of a room (formal vs. casual, energetic vs. subdued, etc)
Understanding how much to share with strangers vs. acquaintances vs. close friends
Recognizing how others feel (bored, annoyed, excited, tired, happy, etc)
Those who have difficulty picking up on these cues can often be perceived as annoying or acting inappropriately for the situation. Social skills groups here at New Horizons Wellness Services will help your child better understand these cues and how to react to them.
Thinking in the context of social skills isn’t about being able to do math problems in your head or how to solve a logic puzzle. It has more to do with how we interpret the behavior of people around us, and how we change our own behavior in response.
Rather than responding to how people feel, we respond to how we perceive people to feel. And that may or may not be accurate, depending on how well versed we are in this situation.
If, for example, we interpret someone’s actions as aggressive, we might become upset and respond defensively, or even aggressively, ourselves. Conversely, if we interpret someone’s actions as being playful when they’re genuinely upset, we might shrug off what was a genuine concern.
Children who struggle in social situations often have trouble with recognizing others’ intentions. Our social skills groups are designed to help you or your child better interpret emotional cues, and come up with strategies to resolve these difficult situations.
Doing may be the most straightforward of the above three factors. Doing is related to understanding what the appropriate action is in a social situation, and more importantly, doing it.
There are many reasons why someone might struggle with doing. In some cases, it might be a genuine lack of understanding of what to do. This can lead to decision paralysis, or it can lead to responses wildly inappropriate to the situation. In other cases, it might be that you do recognize what you ought to do, but shyness, anxiety, or a history of trauma holds you back from actually taking the step.
Regardless of what’s holding you or your child back from positive interactions with peers, the social skills groups here at New Horizons Wellness Services can help.
Contact New Horizons Wellness Services
Social skills are an integral part of life for people of all ages.
Although we all think about and interpret events differently, we need the ability to use social thinking to analyze situations and apply that information in order to have successful interactions with other people.
Starting in infancy, we intuitively begin to learn interaction and communication skills. From childhood and into adulthood, people continue to develop the ability to read and react to social events.
However, some people require more formal instruction in these skills than others. Those who lack strong social skills can experience behavioral and emotional difficulties, trouble making and maintaining friends, peer rejection, and low self-esteem.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Contact New Horizons Wellness Services today to find out more about our social skills groups.