Social Skills: Harder to do at the speed of life

By Karen DeBolt | 31st Jul 2010 | Filed under Parenting, Relationships, Social Skills

 I have been very busy doing social skills assessments this summer, and I am learning so much! The assessment that I’m using is a modified version of the one detailed in Michelle Garcia Winner’s book “Thinking about you thinking about me. 2nd edition” The assessment covers skills such as the ability to: 

  1. ask for help
  2. manage mild frustration.
  3. read social situations from photos
  4. sequence events to tell a story
  5. understand the main idea of a story
  6. maintain appropriate eye contact
  7. answer questions fully and on topic
  8. make inferences about relationships observed
  9. do the social fake (i.e. seem interested when you really are not)
  10. show curiosity by asking questions of another person
  11. understand the concept that where someone is looking gives us clues as to what they are thinking about.

 Every child that I assessed so far was able to do somethings well and struggled with others. Some kids appeared to be able to do most of the activities well, but their parents stated that they were not able to read social cues well at all. When I was able to observe these children at camp, I found that they were not able to to do this in real time even though they did well during the assessment. This really drove home the importance of observation in a natural setting. Social situations happen so fast that a child who struggles may completely miss something if there is a lot of input going on all at once.

 For example, if a child is telling the same story for the fifth or sixth time and another child rolls his eyes. The teller of the story may completely miss that very subtle, but meaningful, gesture especially if there is a lot of background noise, if the story is particularly engrossing to the storyteller, or if the storyteller’s eyes are roaming around rather than using appropriate eye contact. Yet this same storyteller may have been able to look at a scenario on a card and correctly read the situations in my quiet office with few distractions.

 I believe that by teaching these skills in various situations that children can begin to improve on their social skills over time even under trying, real life situations—like summer day camp! It will take patience and persistence over time, but I believe that it is so worth it.

Explorer’s Day Camp – See the new dates!

We still have two slots available for day  camp for 5 to 6 year old children.  Due to circumstances beyond my control, I had to cancel our original dates and rescheduled it for the very end of summer. This is a great opportunity to get your little ones some basic social skills in time for school to start again. All the details are on the website . Check it out then fill out the form at the bottom, and I’ll call you to set up the assessment.

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