Social skills is a common concern among parents. Often children can have difficulties in making and keeping friends. They may be left out of games at lunch, not get invited to other children’s houses or may even be teased by some children.
An important aspect of maintaining friendships is social skills.
Social skills are specific behaviours such as smiling, making eye contact, asking and responding to questions, and giving and acknowledging compliments during a social exchange. These behaviours result in positive social interactions and have been linked to positive developmental outcomes, including peer acceptance.
How can I tell if my child is having difficulties with social skills?
Little use of eye contact,
Uninterested in social interactions,
Difficulties initiating social interactions,
Difficulties interpreting verbal and non-verbal social cues,
Inappropriate emotional response,
Lack of empathy towards others.
It can be upsetting for parents to realise that their children are having difficulties making friends. Research has shown however, that social skills can be effectively taught to children.
How to encourage your child to develop social skills
Help your child make friends by organising play dates, having sleepover and joining clubs.
Offer suggestions on ways to handle situations at school and with friends.
Children learn a lot by observing how adults interact so it is important to always model appropriate behaviour, such as greeting shop assistants and using Peoples names when possible.
Help your child to understand different points of view by describing feelings and having conversations about how other people might feel. This can help your child to develop empathy and will help them deal with conflict when it occurs.
Help develop conversation skills such as asking questions and listening to others
Discuss behaviours such as teasing and bullying with your child, to help them understand that some comments could upset others.
How can the Quirky Kid Clinic help your child?
The Quirky Kid Clinic is a unique place for children and adolescents aged 2-18 years. We work from the child’s perspective to help them find their own solutions. Additionally, we offer a variety of resources, workshops and individualized consultations to support children experiencing difficulties with social skills.
The Best of Friends Workshop TMis an innovative social skills and communicationprogram for children aged 3 to 13. This activity-based workshop encourages children to make the most of their friendships by developing good communication skills. Workshops are available throughout t the year both in school and clinic setting.
How to be a Friend Book – This book published by Quirky Kid helps children to understand how friendships are formed and the best way to handle conflict. It is a must for all children and proactive parents.
Face it Cards are a set of 35 hand-draw facial expression cards. The cards give greater meaning to discussions involving feelings and behaviors. They can help families resolve conflict and classmates explore social scenarios or ethical dilemmas and also allow children to ‘pointing out’ their emotions, helping then to increase understanding, problem-solving and empathy when dialogue is difficult.
Tell Me a Story Cardsare a useful tool for parents and professionals working with young people. They invite children to recall and retell their own memorable moments of extremity, this facilitates communication, highlights strengths, and boosts self-esteem.
Information for this fact sheet was taken from an interview with Child Psychologist Kimberley O’Brien, the Raising Children Network website, and the following articles and was compiled by Corina Vogler, Interm-Psychologist at the Quirky Kid Clinic
Reference: Tse, J., Strulovitch, J., Tagalakis, V., Meng, L., & Fombonne, E. (2007). Social skills training for adolescents with asperger syndrome and high functioning autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37, 1960-1968.
Rao, P., Beidel, D., & Murray, M. (2008). Social skills training for children with Aspergers’s syndrome or high-functioning autism: a review and recommendations. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38, 353-361.
We are delighted to introduce our new resource – The FACE IT Cards.
The FACE IT collection always makes an impression! This set of thirty-five (35) hand-drawn cards, depicting a wide range of facial expressions, are designed to engage children and adults from diverse social and cultural backgrounds as well as those on the Autism spectrum or with other special needs.
Parents, teachers and therapists will find the FACE IT cards are an exceptional resource to increase communication in the home, school, clinic or community setting.
Effectively used with both individuals and groups, the FACE IT cards allow participants the option of ‘pointing out’ their emotions to increase understanding, problem-solving and empathy when dialogue is difficult.
Jacqui Olsson attended a workshop on Sensory Processing and its links with behaviour on Wednesday, 25th November 2009. This workshop examined the link between children’s behaviour, their ability to process sensory information and to understand their world and communicate, and provided loads of helpful strategies to assist children in play activities, staying calm and independently managing their own behaviour.
If you feel your child may have some sensory processing difficulties, you may consider the Sensory Profile to identify their sensory strengths and weaknesses. Please contact us if you would like more information on managing your child’s behaviour.
The Quirky Kid Clinic now offers the Sensory Profile to all parents who believe their child may be experiencing sensory processing difficulties.
The Sensory Profile is a measure of children’s responses to sensory events in daily life. The assessment requires the Parent to assess the frequency of their child’s responses to certain sensory processing, modulation, and behavioral/emotional events. The Sensory Profile can help identify your child’s sensory processing patterns; then we can consider how these patterns might be contributing to or creating barriers to performance in their daily life.
The Sensory Profile is particularly helpful when developing an early intervention program for children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
To find out more about the Sensory Profile, or to book an assessment please contact our reception on (02) 9362 9297.
Children with Asperger’s Disorder have a marked and ongoing impairment in social interaction, and they develop restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests and activities. In contrast to Autism, there are no significant delays in language acquisition and development. During the first three years of the child’s life, there are no significant delays in cognitive development, and they experience normal curiosity about their environment.
They do not experience significant difficulty in acquiring age-appropriate learning skills and adaptive behaviours, apart from social interaction. Children with Asperger’s Disorder may show a marked impairment in non-verbal behaviours such as eye to eye gaze, facial expression, body postures and gestures. They may have difficulty regulating social interaction and communication with others.
What should I look for?
Does your child have difficulty expressing him/herself using non-verbal behaviours like eye contact, facial expressions, body postures and hand gestures?
Does your child have difficulty developing and maintaining friendships?
Does your child have difficulty sharing their enjoyment, interests or achievements with others?
Does your child lack emotional exchanges with others?
Is your child preoccupied with one particular topic of interest at a level that seems unreasonable for his/her age?
Is your child inflexible in following set routines or rituals?
Does your child have repetitive body movements, such as hand or finger flapping or twisting?
Is your child persistently preoccupied with parts of objects, rather than the entire object?
How can the Quirky Kid Clinic help your child?
The Quirky Kid Clinic is a unique place for children and adolescents aged 2-18 years. We work from the child’s perspective to help them find their own solutions. If you suspect your child may be showing signs of Asperger’s Disorder, or if your child already has a diagnosis of Asperger’s Disorder, you might consider one of the following options:
Assessment and Diagnosis of Asperger’s Disorder including the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule.