Everyone is born with different skills and inclinations. Sometimes, you can tell right away when a child has a special gift: an eye for the artistic, an ear for music, or a head for numbers. But more often than not, our abilities are not innate from birth. We work hard to develop skills over a lifetime, and just because something comes easily to one, that doesn’t mean it will come easily to all.
Simple for Us—Not So Simple For Others
Social skills don’t always come naturally for children born with autism and/or other neurodevelopmental disorders. It’s more than awkwardness or simply not knowing how to make conversation: it’s a fundamental difference in how their brains are wired.
Say, for instance, two neurotypical acquaintances pass each other in the street. They smile, wave, and say hello to each other. This is all part of a social routine that neurotypical people—that is, those who don’t experience atypical patterns of thought or behavior—have been trained to perform. It’s pleasant, polite, and uninvolved: it’s simple.
But for people on the autism spectrum, it might not be so simple. They might not understand what it means or indeed why people ‘perform’ these motions at all. In fact, they may not even recognize the social cue when it happens. That’s why it may appear that those on the spectrum are ignoring those around them. Other examples might include not making eye contact when speaking to others, or lack of impulse control, either physically—for example, jumping the line to go down the slide—or verbally, e.g., interrupting during class.
For neurodivergent people and children especially, these are natural behaviors. There is no negativity or ill will intended through these words and actions – or lack thereof. Unfortunately, many neurotypical people perceive these interactions as exhibits of bluntness, impatience, or even rudeness.
We Want the Best for Our Kids: Improving Social Skills
As parents, we want the very best for our children. We want them to have happy and fulfilling lives free from hardship, disappointment, and sadness, and this is especially true for parents of neurodivergent children. The truth is that social interactions are a big and unavoidable part of life, and a lack of social skills may cause children to become isolated and withdrawn.
Even though they might not always know how to express it, neurodivergent kids crave friendship and human connection just as much as anyone else. Unfortunately, their ability to form and maintain those connections may be lacking due to their different neurodevelopment. It’s so important for kids to have relationships with peers and adults in their lives.
Here’s where social skills come into play. Improving social skills can help a child on the spectrum become more open, communicative, and involved with parasocial relationships. It can give them a better quality of life, improved education, and happier relationships with friends, teachers, and family members alike.
Help your child build their confidence by giving them the social skills they need to thrive. You can learn more by exploring our online classes today.