Social Skills Challenges

Social skills’ problems are just as, if not more, important than academic problems in the development of a child with ADHD or Learning Disabilities. Research suggests that adequate social functioning, including healthy peer relationships, plays a primary role in the optimal development of a child. But for many individuals with ADHD, their difficulties with inattention, impulse control and any learning disabilities also affect their ability to develop positive social skills.

Difficulties may show up as:
-Difficulty taking turns in conversations, interrupting others
-Making off topic comments
-Misunderstanding information and reacting defensively
-Difficulty understanding humour
-Difficulty recognizing non-verbal cues, reading body language
-Difficulty understanding personal space.

These challenges, along with difficulties related to disinhibition (i.e., difficulty to control oneself), preoccupations, rigid thinking, and regulating emotions also impact these children’s ability to make and maintain friendships.

Yet, there is hope. Social skills are not inherently acquired – they must be learned. Although most of us are able to pick such skills up implicitly, these children need to be taught explicitly what to do and when to do it! Children who receive social skills training can learn to modify their social skills and become socially competent adults. Children with better social skills tend to be better accepted by their peers, have better coping skills, and have better school and social adjustment.

Resources: Social Thinking

Support Services:
Families: to find information about how to access social skills programs for your child, go to: Find Help – Social Skills Services