Social skills are the skills we require in order to interact successfully and in a meaningful way with others. Social skills include verbal behaviours such as the words we say and the topics we choose to talk about. Social skills also include non verbal behaviours such as gesture, facial expression and body language. Having good social skills enables us to build and maintain friendships. For some children, extra support is required in order to develop strong social skills. In particular, children with Autism Spectrum Disorders tend to require additional support and guidance in order to build their understanding of social skills. Children who are having difficulty managing social situations may be seen to play alone frequently, have difficulty sharing toys, have difficulty taking turns in play, have difficulty maintaining conversations with others or have difficulties discussing different topics and may focus only on the one topic of conversation that interests them.
Why is it important to see a Speech Pathologist for difficulties with social skills?
Children who have difficulties interacting with others due to poor social skills often have difficulty building and maintaining friendships. They may experience bullying at school which can significantly impact on their emotional wellbeing. The development of social skills is not only important for interactions in the early years, but also affects the individuals ability to interact with others throughout their lifespan. With extra support, children can build their understanding of social rules and become more aware of their own behaviours in social settings. This can improve their ability to have successful interactions with others and develop strong friendships.