Skill Builders proudly offers a wide array of therapeutic services, and one of our specialties is Social Skills! Our therapists have all done continuing educational courses in a variety of programs including the Zones of Regulation, Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking Curriculum, and Unstuck and On Target. Our Social Group Coordinator, Melissa Plummer, sat down with me and explained the importance of continuing to work on social skills throughout childhood:
Parents often ask “How many social skills classes will it take to teach him social skills?”. This is an impossible question to answer because really, mastering social skills is a life-long journey. Children need to build a solid foundation of social skills on which to build upon as they enter each new stage of life. Social expectations are constantly evolving as we age, and therefore, our social skills must evolve too! While understanding and perfecting these skills is certainly more challenging for some than others, we all are continuously learning with every new phase of life. Think about the last time you started a new job- you had to learn the lingo, figure out what people do at lunch time, and understand those tricky “unspoken” rules of what flies in the office and what doesn’t. It takes some practice! This is why social skills therapy is designed to grow with the child, tackling the most pressing and relevant social needs at that time. It is important to recognize the value in working on social skills:
Academic Success – In order to successfully understand classroom routines, participate in group projects, understand and analyze materials, and communicate effectively in writing, students must implement pragmatic language skills.
Social Success – Social thinking is key for being out and about among peers – recess, lunch, and even just walking down the hall! For older children, learning how to navigate and appropriately use social media can be tricky. Different rules apply than in the real world, which means learning a whole new subset of social skills.
Building Relationships – Social skills allow us to recognize potential pals, maintain friendships, stay safe when talking to strangers, deal with bullies, advocate for ourselves, and even enter the dating world!
Future Employment – All adults rely on social skills to succeed in the work force. Accepting responsibility, understand and meeting expectations, taking other’s perspectives, reading body language and non-verbal communication, maintaining work space…the list goes on.
Quality of Life – Humans are social creatures, and building relationships with others increases quality of life. This allows children to feel part of a group, develop an identify, and build a support system outside of their immediate family.
Who ever you are and where ever you go, social skills are crucial.
Interested in learning more? Contact Melissa Plummer at Melissa@skillbuildersllc.com to inquire about our popular social skills groups, summer camp, and individualized social skills therapy.
-Elizabeth Clark McKenzie, MS, CCC-SLP