Parents often voice concerns about their child’s social skills. One mother described her 7-year-old son as very out-going and social, but he only plays with children several years younger than he is. One father watched his daughter try to socialize with other girls at church but described her interactions as “immature and inappropriate” for her age. Consequently, his daughter was not included in social activities the other girls enjoyed. What’s even worse is that she couldn’t figure out why nobody wanted to include her, so her self-esteem would take a hit every time she was excluded. Another parent noted that her son, a 5th grader, was a “loner” who “has never had any close friends.” He never noticed or talked about the way his peers treat each other or him.
In our experience, children with poor social skills often struggle with language comprehension in general. They find themselves “lost” in the conversation or “misinterpreting” body language and other non-verbal cues given by their peers. They often fail to see the “big picture” of a situation or scenario, so are taken by surprise when they say or do something that doesn’t “fit in.”
When we work with these students, our goal is to get their brains creating images that match the language they read or hear going on around them. This ability to efficiently and automatically turn language into images is supposed to develop naturally, but it doesn’t always happen like it should. With appropriate treatment, however, a student will start to experience academic and social success. Remember the 5th grader who had always been a loner? He completed treatment for language comprehension this summer. Not only is school a lot easier, but his mother now reports that he’s picking up on things like who the really popular kids are and the fact that he finds it hard to just walk up to somebody and start a conversation. He’s asking her for advice about how to make friends and discussing his observations and concerns with her. He recently joined a new soccer team and has already made several new friends.
So – if you know someone struggling with appropriate social skill development, no matter how old or young they are – it might be that we can help. Give them our phone number or send them to our website. We can help them figure out if this kind of treatment is likely to be beneficial.