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How to Develop Social Skills in Students

Every parent has been there. You’re at a party, and your kid stands alone, unsure how to join the fun. It’s heart-wrenching, especially when you know your child is neurodivergent and social skills don’t come as naturally to them. But here’s the good news: there are ways to help your child navigate social situations with more confidence. This blog post is your guide on how to develop social skills in students, offering actionable steps to nurture these essential abilities.

Step 1: Understanding Social Skills

Before we delve into the ‘how,’ let’s clarify the ‘what.’ Social skills are the tools we use to communicate and interact with each other. They’re about more than just talking and listening but also understanding body language, interpreting social cues, and responding appropriately. These skills can seem like a foreign language for kids with thinking and learning differences. But, just like any language, they can be learned with practice and patience. And, remember, every child is different. What comes naturally to one might be a struggle for another. So, tailoring your approach to your child’s unique needs and abilities is crucial.


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Step 2: Identify the Areas of Difficulty

Now that we know social skills, it’s time to figure out where your child needs help. Do they avoid eye contact? Do they interrupt others during conversations? Identifying these specific challenges is the first step towards addressing them.

Observing your child in different social situations can provide valuable insights. Consider seeking professional help. A speech-language pathologist or a child psychologist can offer expert guidance in identifying and addressing social skill deficits.

Step 3: Use Role-Playing Techniques

Role-playing is a tried-and-true method for teaching social skills. It’s like a rehearsal for real life, allowing your child to practice and perfect their social interactions in a safe, controlled environment. You could act out various scenarios, from sharing toys to handling disagreements, and guide your child on responding.

For instance, Goally offers a range of role-playing scenarios designed specifically for kids with thinking and learning differences. These can be a great resource to get you started.

how to develop social skills in students. a group of friends are socializing at ballet class.
Read more: What Are Social Skills for Kids?

Step 4: Encourage Social Interaction

Like learning to ride a bike, developing social skills requires practice. And the best way to practice is by interacting with others. Please encourage your child to participate in social activities that they enjoy. It could be a playdate with a friend, a sports team, or a hobby club. The goal is to provide them with opportunities to practice their social skills in a supportive and positive environment.

Remember, it’s not about the quantity of interactions, but the quality. A positive interaction with one friend can be more beneficial than a stressful experience in a large group.

Step 5: Use Technology to Aid Learning

Technology can be a powerful ally in teaching social skills. Numerous apps and games are designed to help kids understand and practice social interactions in a fun and engaging way. For example, Goally’s learning tablet for kids offers a range of interactive activities designed to develop social skills in students.

Here are a few features that make Goally an excellent tool for teaching social skills:

  • Interactive games that simulate real-life social scenarios
  • Progress tracking to monitor improvement over time
  • Customizable settings to suit your child’s unique needs

Step 6: Be Patient and Consistent

Developing social skills is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time, and progress may be slow. But don’t lose heart. Consistency is key. Keep practicing, encouraging, and, most importantly, celebrating every small victory.

And remember, every child is unique. Their journey to social skills mastery will be, too. So, don’t compare their progress with others. Instead, celebrate their individuality and every step forward, no matter how small.

Goally | 100+ Streaming Video Classes

Does your child need some extra guidance on building essential life skills? Goally’s skill building tablet for kids includes a TV app that has the most robust video library of skills training videos for kids. Ranging from content like “How to Brush Your Teeth” to “How to Make Friends at School,” we have dozens of interactive video lessons for kids with thinking and learning differences.

An assortment of interactive video class thumbnails, including dental care and cooking, on the best tablet for kids by Goally.

HERE’s a video explaining how to works.

In conclusion, teaching social skills to students, especially those who are neurodivergent, can be a challenging journey. But with understanding, patience, and the right strategies, you can help your child navigate the social world more confidently. And remember, every child is unique, and their social skills journey will be too. So, celebrate their individuality, and know that every step forward, no matter how small, is a victory.

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We help parents teach their kids life skills, like doing bedtime and morning independently. Backed by science, we incorporate evidence-based practices and expert-informed designs in all of our apps and content.