27th Jan 2011 | 05:56 pm | Filed under Parenting, Social Skills

As children get older, school begins to make different demands. Course work requires more analysis, more abstract thinking, even more understanding about the way us humans tick. Children with social skills challenges may begin to slide academically for the first time.

In the social skills assessment that I give before children enter Whiz Kid Club, our after school program or Whiz Kid Camp, our summer day camp, I have them take a set of 8 cards that tell a story. I watch for whether they can organize the project easily, whether they put the cards in order and how many tries they need to do it. I also ask them to tell me the story and then give the story a title.

But, its too hard. . .

This task is extremely difficult for some children as they really have a hard time with organizing a task like this without a lot of frustration. However, once that part is completed, the telling of the story is often quite telling. In the story, a boy and his mom leave home, go to a playground, meet a friend, and the boy and his friend trade vehicles, then the boy and his mom go home again. I’m looking for whether the child is able to tell the story in an way that makes sense. This is often extremely hard for many of children in my programs.

In a title, I am wanting to know if the child understands the gist of the story. Often the title the child gives is off target. “A boy goes to the playground” while accurate misses the point of the story.

How does this affect school work?

Seeing the big picture is critical in whether a book report accurately reflects what a book is about or whether the essay makes a point or goes off target. You can see how the ability to get the gist or see the big picture would make a big difference academically.

How to help at home

One easy way to begin flexing those big picture muscles is to talk about Movies or TV shows that you watch together. Ask your child what a good title might be for that episode of Sponge Bob or ask what is the main theme of Toy Story. While reading a book, ask your child what big idea the author was trying to get across in this chapter of The Lightning Thief. Don’t expect that your child will be perfect at first. Remember this is hard stuff. Ask first, get some guesses and then make some suggestions that you see. Explain why.

By practicing these skills, your child will be in a much better position to be able to do analysis in school.

Summer Day Camps are coming soon!

I know it seems early to start worrying about the Summer, but we are in the process of setting up dates for Day Camp. We have a week in July already scheduled and more dates are going to added over the new few weeks. Its not too early to begin thinking about camp as you are making your Summer vacation plans.

We are going to be having a special Day Camp just for Girls this year also! Girls social skills needs are different than the boys so we are creating a special program just for them.

Check out the website now for information, and I will be in touch with more information as we firm up our plans!

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