Social Skills Benefits

 Social skills is defined as “behaviors that lead to judgments of social competence by significant others such as teachers, parents, and peers, and they are the tools by which children and youth build, maintain, and improve the quality of their interpersonal relationships.” (Gresham, 2002). This definition of social skills entails how others perceive the person’s communication and their abilities to interact with others. Many children can lack social skills abilities, whether it be knowing how to introduce themselves to others, creating and maintaining friendships, or skills including personal space and boundaries. Often times children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder require some assistance to work on their social communication abilities, as this is an inherent part of the diagnosis. Nonetheless, many children who are not diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder may also benefit from this type of social interaction. Children who are characterized as “shy,” anxious, depressed, noncompliant, or simply struggling in interactions can all benefit and engage in social skills groups.

How do we know that social skills works?

 In a study run by Durlak, Weissberg, and Pachan (2010) findings indicated that children and adolescents experienced improved self-perceptions, increased their connection to the school, their grades, academic accomplishment, enhanced positive social behaviors, and substantially decreased unwanted behaviors. This study demonstrates the positive aspects and results that can be derived from a social skills intervention, not just influencing the social aspects but the participants’ self-esteem and academic achievements. Self-esteem is a significant factor impacting children’s ability to socialize, interact, and understand social cues. Therefore, addressing social skills can increase self-esteem which can then continue to enhance a child’s ability and desire to socialize.

What do social skills groups entail?

Social skills groups teach and relay educational and informative information in a fun and playful manner that is meant to communicate these topics by engaging the children. By using a group setting other children can feel a more normalized atmosphere that helps address prevalent issues in a method that incorporates modeling, educational learning, and pleasurable activities. This method can help children integrate and begin practicing the things discussed in a safe zone that is accepting and understanding of their needs. Furthermore, for children experiencing anxiety, seeing others who have similar presenting concerns, and learning to address how their thoughts may be impacting their behaviors and emotions and thus resulting in less social interactions may be ideal to help relieve this anxiety and learn how to cope with it. Therefore, a group setting is ideal for children struggling with these issues.

We are adamant believers in social skills groups helping and enhancing children’s social and communication skills. From our sessions and from the vast research on this topic, this type of group intervention is ideal for many types of presenting issues. If your child is struggling with one of the factors listed above or if you believe he or she may benefit from social skills, don’t hesitate to reach out and learn more. As always, we are here to support!

 

References:

Gresham, F. M. (2002). Best Practices in Social Skills Training. In A. Thomas & J. Grimes (Eds.), Best practices in school psychology IV (pp. 1029-1040). Washington, DC, US: National Association of School Psychologists.

Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., & Pachan, M. (2010). A meta‐analysis of after‐school programs that seek to promote personal and social skills in children and adolescents. American journal of community psychology45(3-4), 294-309.