I’m sure you’ve heard about social skills groups and have, probably, wondered what they are, how they can help, and how they can be done virtually during the ongoing pandemic. Let’s learn more about them.
What are They?
Social skills groups are small groups that are put together to help teach, improve, and promote a variety of social skills. They can be divided by age, level of communication, school grade, or other factors to ensure that each group meets the needs of the individuals in it. Groups can have themes or topics that will guide the activities and interaction done in the group or they can be more open to allow the individuals in the group to guide what takes place.
Social skills groups can address many different aspects of communication and socialization, from beginning skills to more advanced skills. Some of the skills that can be addressed are:
- Play skills
- Approaching others
- Asking and answering questions
- Verbal and non-verbal cues
- Conversational skills
- Making and maintaining friendships and relationships
- Problem-solving skills
- Self-monitoring and self-regulation
- Handling conflicts and disagreements
Social skills groups can take many different forms to address the skills I mentioned above. Some may be related to sports or specific games or activities, while others may have themes and particular topics. Regardless of the format or location of the group, though, skills can be embedded into the activities for the group. The idea is to make the groups fun and interactive.
Why are Social Skills Groups Beneficial?
Not all individuals develop social skills the same way. Some pick up social skills quickly, while others may struggle to learn the concepts and put them into practice. For individuals with Autism Spectrum (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and other related disabilities, social skills may be even more of a challenge and require more teaching and support.
Poor social skills may lead to isolation, feelings of rejection, or even increased inappropriate or maladaptive behaviors. Social skills groups can help individuals build a strong foundation in socialization skills, which can help improve self-confidence and their ability to relate to others. Improved social skills can also help with communication, problem-solving, and conflict resolution.
Virtual Social Skills Groups
Social skills groups can be held in a number of different settings, from outdoor spaces to schools to virtual formats. When you think of a virtual format for a social skills group, you’re likely thinking, “How can that be done virtually?” or “Isn’t the idea of a social skills group to move away from tech?”.
While it may seem a little unconventional, virtual social skills groups are becoming more and more available. A virtual format provides participating individuals with the comfort and flexibility of joining from home. It may also help to ease any discomfort or unease some individuals may experience from being in a social setting with others, and encourage more participation.
For a virtual group, each individual logs on to the platform being used for the group. Individuals can see the others in the group and the group facilitators. The group facilitators will guide, encourage, and promote socialization through different activities.
Virtual groups also help to increase health and well-being during the current, ongoing pandemic.
Our Social Skills Groups
Our virtual social skills group for middle schoolers target a variety of social skills areas to help middle schoolers build a stronger social foundation to improve on their communication skills, ability to relate to others, self-confidence, and overall social abilities.
A different topic will be addressed each month, through fun, interactive and engaging activities by our highly trained group facilitators.