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TIPS on Defining the Different Types of Social Skills

Updated: Feb 12, 2019


Defining the Different Types of Social Skills While there are hundreds of important social skills for students to learn, we can organize them into skill areas to make it easier to identify and determine appropriate interventions. For example, the "Stop and Think" program organizes skills into four areas: 1. Survival skills (e.g., listening, following directions, ignoring distractions, using nice or brave talk, rewarding yourself) 2. Interpersonal skills (e.g., sharing, asking for permission, joining an activity, waiting your turn) 3. Problem-solving skills (e.g., asking for help, apologizing, accepting consequences, deciding what to do) 4. Conflict resolution skills (e.g., dealing with teasing, losing, accusations, being left out, peer pressure) Identifying Social Skills Deficits  Prior to determining the best means to help a student develop better social skills, it is important to understand specifically what a student can and can't do. It is crucial to assess and classify the nature of a child's social skill deficits in order to devise and implement the most appropriate intervention.  Children may experience difficulty performing a skill: · Due to lack of knowledge (acquisition deficits), e.g., the child does not know the skills or does not discriminate when a skill is appropriate. For example, a child grabs a pencil from a peer in class when she needs one because she does not know how to appropriately ask to borrow it. · Consistently despite knowledge (performance deficits), e.g., the child knows how to perform the skills but fails to do so consistently or at an acceptable level of competence. For example, although the child understand that he should raise his hand to speak in class, and does so much of the time, he will sometimes blurt out a comment without raising his hand. · To a sufficient degree or level of strength (fluency deficits), e.g., the child knows how to perform skill and is motivated to perform, but demonstrates inadequate performance due to lack of practice or adequate feedback. For example, a student has learned what to say and do when confronted with bullying behavior, but her responses are not yet strong enough to be successful. · Due to competing skill deficits or behaviors, e.g., internal or external factors interfere with the child demonstrating a learned skill appropriately. For example, depression, anxiety, hyperactivity, or negative motivation can interfere with demonstration of appropriate conflict resolution skills, even though the skills have been taught and learned.


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