Recently, we read an article where a physician was quoted as saying kids do “what they can.” This is very true whether we’re talking about children utilizing good social skills, reading on their grade level, or learning math facts. It’s not a child’s “fault” that they are not understanding or implementing good social skills naturally. However, as adults, we tend to have those expectations when it comes to social skills and then try to manage those “behaviors.”
If a child is struggling learning to read, we teach that child unique ways to learn maybe through phonics, or blending patterns. If a child is struggling with concepts in math, we offer ways of support such as tutoring and breaking down the concepts until they understand the steps. Social skills really are the same. In school a student will typically have to pull a card, lose a buck or sit at the quiet table. Teachers and administrators report that a child is struggling understanding and utilizing good social skills but the actual skills are not being taught or supported.
Just like special strategies can be implemented to teach a child to read, there are curriculums and specialists who can teach your child social skills. Both types of teaching express the importance of having a strong support network for your child as well as practicing the skills that are being taught. When we are teaching a child phonics, we would then expect and set up situations where they are practicing the phonic skill. Social skills are the same in that, as children are learning how to “think” about thinking, having a support network of parents/guardians and teachers to help them practice the skills is necessary.
Our social skills classes are called Mindful Thinking for Social Expectations. Our classes run six-week sessions with each session having a unique focus. If this is your first time joining a social skills group or if your child has specific “behaviors” that you are unsure how to teach, we recommend beginning with our self-awareness, self-monitoring, and self-control classes. We currently are teaching a session on “play” which includes how to enter and engage in play, how to read nonverbal language, and beginning to understand other people have thoughts and perspectives. We keep our class sizes small so the students have the ability to interact and practice the social skills they are learning. This also enables us to offer more individualized instruction.
We also believe empowering parents is important. In conjunction to the student class, we have a parent group that meets at the same time. The parents are learning information on the importance of reinforcing and practicing the skills their child is learning.
We also offer a teacher letter each week so we can connect with your child’s teacher. We feel this is an important piece so he/she can help reinforce the skills your child is learning.
This is a slow and deep process. The focus of our classes are not about “managing” behaviors but rather teaching skills that begins to create a shift for students and parents. Once these skills are learned, the students will be empowered to problem solve social situations that were once difficult for them.
We welcome any questions you have! If you would like to talk with us more about our classes, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christina and Wendy