Building Social Skills in Group Settings

Building Social Skills in Group Settings

Children with special needs can have a variety of issues with social relatedness, such as recognizing facial cues, regulating emotions and performing social reciprocation. For example, children with Asperger’s disorder often have difficulty with recognizing social cues. More subtly, however, a child with an auditory processing deficit may have trouble keeping up with the pace of a conversation with several people simultaneously. Children with special needs often have social challenges that frequently lead to social anxiety and withdrawal.

Fulton Psychological Group offers social skills groups in a comfortable and safe, private practice environment for children of all ages. The groups consist of 8 one-hour weekly sessions. They address issues including initiatXing and sustaining friendships, conflict resolution, empathy building, recognizing social cues, self-awareness in social situations, anger management, appropriate expression of feelings, cooperation and sharing, overcoming shyness and social fears, and appropriate use of humor.

Groups are approached with a focus on enhancing each participant’s understanding and application of topics, while addressing each member’s personal needs. Each week there is a group topic, such as “Dealing with Bullies” or “How to Make Friends.” Each child will participate in the activities of the week and through this participation the group facilitator will both work on the topic elements as well as the child’s personal issues. The child’s personal issues arise from the interactions with the peers in the group and participation in the activities.

Weekly group meetings utilize both cognitive awareness of the topic being discussed and application of the topic via games, role plays and/or art projects. We give homework assignments to help the child put into practice the tools learned. The groups are experiential and group facilitators give feedback to children in the moment to give the child the best opportunity for understanding and growth.

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