How ADHD Affects Social Skills and What to Do about it

By Karen DeBolt | 7th Mar 2013 | Filed under Parenting, Social Skills, Techniques

I hope everything is going well for you and your family! This article was created for a

talk that I’m giving at the CHADD Parent Support Group next Thursday, so I thought that
I would share it with you as well. This talk is open to anyone, so if you are local and
would like to attend all the details are on their website:

http://stumptownchadd.org

It will be held at 6:30 pm at Beaverton Christ Community Church, 4325 SW 107th Ave.
Beaverton, OR. 97005. Feel free to call me for directions at 503-459-2073.

 

How ADHD Affects Social Skills and What to Do about it

Social skills are those human interacting abilities that just come naturally for most
people. Neurotypical folks don’t need to learn to notice body language or how to start a
conversation. The learning just happens without a lot of outside intervention beyond
societal norms – i.e. good manners.

However, for those who have been diagnosed with ADHD, the learning may be a
challenge due to the very way that they are wired. Being easily distracted,
over-stimulated, under stimulated, or just having a hard time focusing can affect social
learning as well as being able to use the skills that are already there. Here are some
examples:

* Andrew blurts out answers and speaks to the teacher in the same way that he
might talk to a buddy which comes across as very disrespectful.

* Jim is a hero on the playground for his amazing arm fart skills, but gets in big
trouble for doing it at his very formal great grandmother’s home.

* Amy’s friend Sarah asks her how she likes her new dress. Amy honestly tells
Sarah and she doesn’t like it. Sarah stops talking to Amy and worst other girls stop
talking to Amy also, but she has no idea what the problem is.

* Janes talks non-stop about whatever is in her head at the moment and does not
notice that her friend’s and her family are bored or would like to respond even.

* Bruce loves to play with other kids but he has to direct all the play, win every
game, and will throw a huge fit if things don’t go his way. Other kids start to avoid him.

* Andrew is thoughtful and kind with younger kids and when he is one on one, but
either shuts down or gets super silly in larger groups.

* Robin gests very angry when someone bumps into them accidentally and will
assume that the other person did it “on purpose.”

* Bonnie stands too close to people and doesn’t recognize their discomfort when
they step back.

Sound familiar?

These children are all exhibiting social skills challenges that are fairly common for kids
with ADHD. The hard part often is helping kids to recognize how their behavior affects
all of their relationships. So how can parents help?

Three tips for helping kids with ADHD to improve social skills:

Tip #1: Discuss Expected versus Unexpected Behaviors

Explore the difference between expected and unexpected behaviors. Talk to your child
about the types of behavior that are expected versus those that are unexpected as
they happen.

Not all unexpected behavior causes trouble, but it might just cause others to think
“weird thoughts” about you. Putting underwear on your head and walking around is not
necessarily going to get you in trouble but it will get you a reputation as being a bit odd
or weird. Talking too much and not listening is unexpected but not necessarily bad
behavior.

Talking about these things with your child using examples can be helpful to begin the
conversation about how their behavior affects other people.

Tip #2 Increasing awareness through watching others

When watching TV shows or movies at home stop the action and talk about what is
happening in moment. Ask your child questions to help build awareness of social
situations.

- How is that character feeling right now? (builds feeling words vocabulary)
- How does this character’s behavior affect that character? (awareness of expected
vs unexpected behaviors and also how behaviors affect others)
- How would you do in that situation? (Opens up problem solving social situations)

These kinds of conversations can help children to be able to talk about social situations
in a non-threatening way that is not personal to them which is a first step towards better
social awareness.

Tip #3 Rubber Chicken Moments – Using humor

Using a humorous method to point out unexpected behaviors can help your child to
begin to build awareness. During our afterschool program and Day camps we call these
moments Rubber Chicken moments. By giving someone who has made a social mistake
the rubber chicken you can use humor to point out that everyone makes social errors on
occasion. Having a leader give himself or herself the rubber chicken helps kids to see
that everyone messes up sometimes – even me!

For even more ideas and more in-depth conversation about improving your child’s
social skills come to the Stumptown CHADD Parent support Group and see Karen’s
presentation called “Five Ways Kids with ADHD Can Build Better Social Skills.”

Whiz Kid After School Program to be announced soon!

This is program designed to teach kids
the basics of social skills so that they can learn
relationship skills to make and keep friends, control
impulses that get them in trouble, be able to see how their
behavior affects others in their lives, and have a great
time doing it.

We will be meeting in our Beaverton Location with
a great program with new activities, outdoor games,
and lessons to last a life time on how to get along better with
peers, parents, and everyone else! If this sounds like something
you are interested in for your child. Please call Karen at 503-459-2073
today!

All the details will be announced soon!

http://www.socialwhizkids.com

Better Behavior Without Stress Book

Does parent coaching sound good, but don’t have the time or
resources to get started right now? Here is the book you
have been waiting for. Karen wrote this book so that she
would have something to give to her coaching clients that
would have all the tools that you need to help calm the
chaos at your home. Click the link here and get a look
inside at Amazon.com

http://amzn.to/betterbehavior

Or get the audio book or EBook (PDF version) at:

http://www.socialwhizkids.com/book

Comments Off