The Impact Of Learning Disorders On Social Skills
Social skills are an essential part of everyday life. They enable us to communicate effectively, empathise with others, and resolve conflicts. For children, it can impact their ability to make friends, solve problems, and even their future career prospects. That's why parents need to help their children develop strong social skills.
However, there is a strong correlation between learning disorders and social skills deficits, according to a recent study in 2019. It showed that children with learning disorders were more likely to be rejected by their classmates than normal-achieving children. This is because children with learning disorders struggle with the following:
1. Have trouble communicating effectively
For those who have trouble communicating, everyday interactions can be a challenge. Children with learning disorders may find it difficult to initiate conversations, code switch, or have trouble speaking clearly.
Many may also have difficulty understanding body language or interpreting the nuances of speech. They may come across as rude or insensitive, even when that is not their intention. As a result, they may miss out on important opportunities or be isolated from the people around them.
2. Find it difficult to make friends
The ability to communicate effectively affects whether one can make friends.
Socially adept children know how to interact with others, which makes them more popular among classmates. They can read social cues and adjust their behaviour accordingly, such as knowing when it is appropriate to speak up and when it is better to listen.
Without social skills, it can be challenging to make friends. It can be tough to form relationships if they don't know how to make small talk, or if they tend to get tongue-tied around new people. Many children with learning disorders have trouble approaching others and starting conversations. They may also struggle to keep up their end of a conversation and find it hard to connect with others.
3. Unable to problem solve
Besides struggling to communicate and make friends, children with poor social skills may also have difficulty solving problems. They will find it tough to handle conflict or difficult situations as they cannot see other people's points of view or consider different solutions. As a result, they may become frustrated quickly or act impulsively.
How to overcome these difficulties?
It is crucial that parents and educators are aware of these findings so they can help their children quickly. Here are some suggestions on how to hone your child’s social skills:
Remind your child to focus on listening and being interested in what others have to say. This will help him come across as friendly and approachable.
Let him join clubs or groups where he can interact with others who share the same interests.
Practise in low-pressure situations with your child. For example, encourage him to ask a question in a small group setting or buy an item together with him at the nearby grocery store.
Under our Occupational Therapy programme, we have Social Skills And Play Skills Training to guide the children on how to interact with others, share their feelings, and understand the emotions of others in a safe and structured environment. Meanwhile, our Speech Therapy programme addresses each individual child’s needs to promote his speech and language development through a customised plan.
Other programmes we provide include educational therapy, child psychology services, early intervention programmes, and group classes. Book an appointment with us or find a nearby MindChamps Allied Care Centre in Singapore today.