Navigate Life Texas: Resources for kids with disabilities and special needs

Navigate Life Texas: Resources for kids with disabilities and special needs

What are Social Skills?

A social skill is any skill facilitating interaction and communication with others. Social “rules” and relations are communicated in both verbal and nonverbal ways. The process of learning these skills is called socialization.

Think back to when you were in school. A big part of being in school was to learn new things—e.g., math, writing, science, etc. But a bigger part was making friends and creating relationships. It is important that all children have the needed skills to make friends and get along in society.

Here are some things that parents can teach to enhance their child’s social skills

  • Approaching others in socially acceptable ways. When we walk up to another person to ask a question, are we keeping appropriate distance between us? Or are we too close to the person so that they might feel uncomfortable? Are we asking for permission to get something that is not ours? Do we share our toys or materials with others? 
  • Appropriate classroom behavior. This includes teaching good work habits, listening skills, how to follow directions, asking questions, or asking for help.
  • Handling frustration or anger. Teach them calming techniques such as counting to 10 before reacting, distracting oneself with a task that they enjoy, or learning an internal dialogue to cool down. 
  • Acceptable ways to resolve conflict with others. That is, using our words instead of physical contact or seeking the assistance of the teacher or another adult to assist in the conflict resolution.
  • Understanding the feelings of others.  We need to teach our children to be able to predict how others might feel in a situation—and to understand that others might not feel the same way they do.

If we want our children to be successful in school, in a job, or as an independent adult, we must take the time to teach them social skills. These will open many doors for them.

You can find activities to strengthen your child’s social skills on this website by typing “social skills” into the search box on the Find Services, Groups, and Events.

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