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Thread: How to help 9yo with social skills?

  1. #1
    Val. is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    3,854

    Default How to help 9yo with social skills?

    Ok, I'm seriously just at a loss with how to help Tan with his social skills. His behavior is still so up and down. He threw a chair in his room the other day after getting frustrated at the computer. So, I took the computer out of his room indefinitely. But, it's the social part that leaves me feeling almost helpless, especially as he gets closer to his teen years. He can talk and talk and talk, but struggles to carry on meaningful two way conversation unless you push him...then he's able. He NEVER says please or thank you unless you remind him. When he gets in the car, he doesn't say hello. When people leave, he doesn't say goodbye. We did social skills therapy for three years and he currently sees a therapist who is supposed to help him some, but it doesn't seem to help too much....

    Any suggestions?
    Val

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    314

    Default ____________________

    I don't know what to tell you as we are struggling ourselves. It hurts and I would like to offer well wishes.
    Joy






    Quote Originally Posted by Val. View Post
    Ok, I'm seriously just at a loss with how to help Tan with his social skills. His behavior is still so up and down. He threw a chair in his room the other day after getting frustrated at the computer. So, I took the computer out of his room indefinitely. But, it's the social part that leaves me feeling almost helpless, especially as he gets closer to his teen years. He can talk and talk and talk, but struggles to carry on meaningful two way conversation unless you push him...then he's able. He NEVER says please or thank you unless you remind him. When he gets in the car, he doesn't say hello. When people leave, he doesn't say goodbye. We did social skills therapy for three years and he currently sees a therapist who is supposed to help him some, but it doesn't seem to help too much....

    Any suggestions?
    Val

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    469

    Default I used social stories and recipes(m)

    Social stories (Carol Gray) to help with the theory of mind for more abstract behaviours (like why saying 'hello' 'goodbye' or 'thank you' is imporant) what I called 'social recipes' for specific situations - like how to interact properly with a clerk at the store, how to ask where an item is in the grocery store - with steps with specific tasks (ie. Step one: make brief eye contact and smile. Step two: greet the person. You could say 'hi' 'hello' how are you' etc. These worked really well for ds because they were so concrete and he could basically memorize them. Once he had the 'recipe' in his head we would go practice them (with me spying on him, of course) and then talk about how he did, or what he needed to remember to do next time. Frequently I brief him on what he needs to do in upcoming situations or we practice proper interactions before hand so he goes into a situation with a set of rules or a 'to do' list of interaction steps that he will use (ie. before you leave X's house you need to: Thank Mrs. X for dinner, thank X for inviting you over, say goodbye as you step out the door etc.) I started with basic steps like appropriate eye contact, greeting, basic manners etc. and then as he mastered those and they became more automatic for him, I added in more steps and interaction (like initating small talk with the librarian as she signs out his books at the library). I found he really needed very specific, concrete rules about how he was to act and what he needed to do. Saying things like, 'Remember to be polite' was meaningless to him, he really needed a set of rule or a recipe of what 'polite' looked like and said in a situation. Often we set weekly goals (like remembering to properly greet his teacher when entering the class every morning, smiling and saying hello to people he passed when out on a walk) and things that over time became a habit, and then building on more behaviours (like asking one different person each day a question) and then rewarded his work at the end of the week.

    I think I was lucky because ds is really receptive to working on his deficits so it while it has been hard sometimes for him to learn and master how to interact well in different situations, it was not difficult to motivate him to try and improve on his social shortcoming and challenges - I don't really know how I would approach it if he was recalcitrant about even trying.

    Good luck, it is really hard, and it is a slow learning process with lots of steps forward accompanied by long backwards slides, but if you make some rules and stick with them it makes his world more predictable which may help tame his frustration (ds used to get really frustrated because kids at school would be upset with him over his poor social abilities and ds would have no idea why they suddenly were mean or angry with him).

    Amanda

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    223

    Default We are working on social skills at our house too.

    The computer is a major trigger at our house (more time limits etc.)

    Our DS (8 yo)has and will repeat a social skills class at the local children's hospital. After some pushing school is going to work with him in a "lunch bunch" situation and his therapist is working on helping him identify his emotions (starting with the easy ones and then getting harder).

    Muliple professionals have recommended using http://socialthinking.com/ materials and principles.

    He is also being treated for ADHD. Though he isn't part of the specfic group, they offer multiple classes for managing frustration in ADHD kids.

    His therapist has suggested a number of "different" types of social skills groups, one is a sand tray group - like a little sandbox with props used to express oneself or explain a book etc. so the kids can figure out what they are feeling, another is a legos building group (still have to find out more about that one) and the third is a saturday gifted program with various classes (robotics, rockets, cooking, japanese etc.) but the therapist runs a "Friends and Feelings", where other kids similar to DS (ADHD, most likely PPD-NOS) get together.

    I'm sorry but I don't remember what your DS dx is (or if he has one) but I know our guy gets very frustrated at himself for lack of self control. It was this that led our guy to ask us to provide him medication to help (at 7). Celexa helped alot with the anxiety which helped alot with the self control and self esteem (which was poor) which in turn helped with the out bursts which made him much more receptive to the formal social skills.

    Hang in there, a loving parent such as yourself is critical to the support these guys need.

    Anne

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