From birth, every animal starts developing their social skills, even humans (yes that’s right we are animals). Having effective social skills are essential to being successful in life. Social skills teach us what to say, how to respond to others, and what behaviors are appropriate in certain situations. Social skills enable us to do well in several areas of our life, school, work, relationships, extracurricular activities, and so on.
Most children are able to learn and strengthen their social skills through everyday interactions with parents, caregivers, and peers. These interactions can occur directly and indirectly. Direct teaching occurs as it sounds, you are teaching the individual directly.
Direct Example: Mom and Billy are at the grocery store. Billy reaches up and takes a sample from a sample stand. Mom steps in an teaches Billy how to ask for a sample appropriately.
Indirect learning occurs through osmosis. So you are just kind of picking up the skills through daily interaction. Children learn though their own observations of others and trial and error
Indirect Example: Billy is on the playground at school. He goes over to Sarah and demands her to hand him the ball she is playing with. Sarah calls him rude and walks away. Later in the day, Billy sees another student go over to a student and request an item, by saying “Can I have a turn”. Billy thinks, “hhmmmm maybe I’ll try that next time!”
What happens when these skills aren’t able to be taught directly or aren’t picked up indirectly? That’s where social skills training comes into place. Social skills training is as exactly as it sounds, we are training an individuals social skills. We are taking the communication tools they already have, even if it’s not that many, and shaping them into more successful and socially appropriate skills.
For more information about social skills feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.