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Social skills help - what can school realistically do?

3 replies

onlineschoolmum · 13/09/2021 13:41

DS (10) has some ADHD traits - can't sit still, always fidgeting, finds it hard to concentrate.

Academically he's doing fine though. Scores highly on end of year assessments in terms of English comprehension and maths (though the written element is a bit hit and miss).

He also sometimes seems to struggle socially and can be quite immature e.g. can't bear it when another child tries to explain rules of a game he thinks he already knows. However, I am able to take him to any new setting (e.g. a new summer holiday club) and he is absolutely fine going, engages well, makes friends etc.

He does have a few mature friends who seem to be kind and inclusive but school have raised that he may struggle when he goes to secondary school next year and want to engage an Ed Psych.

I kep asking them what they could do with any recommendations an Ed Psych made ... I just don't get what social skills help can be given. It's not like an academic subject where you can go back over concepts etc.

Is it worth involving an Ed Psych? What realistically can be done by school (or us) to help, if anything?

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AmaryllisNightAndDay · 13/09/2021 13:56

I kep asking them what they could do with any recommendations an Ed Psych made ... I just don't get what social skills help can be given. It's not like an academic subject where you can go back over concepts etc.

DS (who has an ASC not ADHD) attended weekly social skills groups. You're right, you don't really go back over concepts. You share problems you've had - no-one likes not getting on with other children or getting told off by the teacher. You discuss what went wrong and what went right. You talk about what is expected in different social situations. And you practice. The children make mistakes and learn from each other. The teacher guides you and stops things getting out of hand, and sets up social situations - playing a game, sharing news, working together, talking to the teacher - and the children try them. The teacher (in DS's group a language therapist) enourages you to think about what you're doing while you are doing it. Things come up, you deal with them, the teacher helps, everybody learns. DS's group had a session on the difference between "I don't need any help thanks" and "GO AWAY!!!" Grin

The issues are probably a bit different between ASC and ADHD, but the approach is similar.

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AmaryllisNightAndDay · 13/09/2021 14:03

For your DS the issue may be less about making friends and more about keeping them. So learning to share news with others , wait his turn in conversation, listen and respond to others, may be the kinds of things he needs to practice and focus on. Secondary schools may have an after-school group for new children who (for whatever reasons) have friendship problems, so they can be supported to make friends and support each other.

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onlineschoolmum · 13/09/2021 14:52

Thanks both of you that's helpful.

You are right Amaryllis* - the issue is more around keeping friends I think.

The school doesn't have any social skills groups etc afaik. They are good at academic support and have quite a bit of expertise in that area, but I think most kids at the school don't have these issues ... although obviously they're not going to tell me up front about them! That's why I wondered how they would support my DS and why, when the SENCO raised the issue, I kept trying to get to the bottom of what they actually could do (and didn't really get a reply other than a vague "We'll see what the Ed Psych says".

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