Social Skills Groups - 7 Things Your Child Can Learn FInd a Speech Therapist Using TherapyfindR A Directory and Community of Speech-Language Pathologists
Social Skills Groups - 7 Things Your Child Can Learn
By Carly Seibald, MS CCC-SLP, TSSLD
Social Skills groups are a small group therapy session focused on teaching children the interactive and social communication skills they’re struggling with at school and at home. Whether your child has a hard time joining in with kids on the playground, reading social cues on a playdate or navigating social expectations at school, a social skills group can help! Through explicit teaching, adult and peer modeling and use of structured and unstructured play and language activities, children can learn to regulate and maintain appropriate social interactions – and have FUN doing it!
Who Benefits from a Social Skills Group?
Social Skills groups can be a wonderful teaching environment for children both with and without special needs. When paired appropriately, children can benefit from peer models with similar language, play and developmental skills. Commonly, children seeking social skills instruction have speech and language and sensory deficits, however many mainstream children require support with play skills and engaging peers in the classroom and community. Parents can consult with teachers and therapists to find out if a social skills group is right for their child.
7 Things Your Child Can Learn in a Social Skills Group
1. Joining In and Initiating Play with Peers
Helping your child join in and play the right way – by reading body language, social cues and using language to engage a peer.
2. Increased Flexibility
Helping children overcome rigidity about routines and play with peers. Increased flexibility about game play (e.g., going first, taking turns, not winning) and toys (e.g., limited toy preferences, difficulty sharing) makes it easier to play with any peer.
3. Improving Eye Contact and Body Language
Improving your child’s ability to establish and maintain eye contact without becoming dependent on prompts and verbal cues. Making sure your child can keep his/her brain and body in the group so they don’t miss the opportunity to interact.
4. Negotiating Conflicts & Problem Solving
Helping children work through disagreements and frustration with peers during cooperative play activities and in less structured environments.
5. Emotional Awareness in Self and Others
Helping increase a child’s ability to understand how others are feeling and how to appropriately react to those emotions. Improving a child’s ability to recognize their own emotional states and how they can effectively communicate how they’re feeling across environments.
6. Improving Self-Regulation
By teaching children to recognize appropriate and expected social interactions in others, they can begin to explore how to self-monitor their own behavior.
7. Increased Independence from Adults in a Group Setting
Children who interact frequently with adults, become accustomed to adult interaction because adults are a safer and more predictable conversational partner than peers who may not respond, may not be (or pretend to be) interested (as adults do) or who may not understand or support the interaction as adults do. Social skills groups will help support and shape the child's interactions with peers through language, gesture and affect.
Carly Seibald, MS CCC-SLP, TSSLD
Speech Language Pathologist
Carly Seibald is a New York State licensed Speech-Language Pathologist and holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) from ASHA as well as a professional certificate as a Teacher of Students with Speech and Language Disabilities (TSSLD). With years of experience in a multi-disciplinary setting, Carly has worked closely with Occupational and Behavioral Therapists to help support children across developmental domains. Carly has extensive experience evaluating and treating children diagnosed with a variety of impairments including Autism Spectrum Disorders, Developmental Delays, Motor-Speech Disorders, Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), Cognitive Delays, Receptive & Expressive Language Impairments, Sensory Integration Disorders, Auditory Processing Disorders and Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. In addition to private practice, Carly works as a full-time speech and language therapist and supervisor at Children’s Academy, an integrated, multidisciplinary K-5th grade school for children with speech and language delays located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.