What is Social Skills Training?
Socialization is essentially the process of teaching a human being how to live in a world with other human beings. It starts at birth withholding, eye contact, babbling & speech and continues for the rest of our lives. Whether we’re hanging out with friends, going to school, working, playing, reading or watching TV, playing sports, singing, eating. We are experiencing some aspect of socialization.
Social Skill Training for Autism
Children with autism are not averse to social interactions. They just do not have the social skills required to interact effectively. A child on the autism spectrum may need help in learning how to act in different types of social conditions. By including social skills training as a part of autism treatment, a child with autism can be supported with ways to engage with friends and to handle new social experiences. Social skills training for autism can help to enhance their communication skills and sensory integration and develop ways to build up language and cognitive skills. As part of autism treatment, social skill training is also imparted to parents and caregivers to help the child with autism achieve better results.
Social skills play an important role in overall development of a child. It boosts the confidence of the child to deal with the people and leave a positive impression.
Social skills training (SST) is a type behavioral therapy used to help people improve social skills so they can become socially competent. SST may be used by therapists, teachers or other professionals to help those diagnosed with psychological, anxiety, mood and personality disorders, developmental disabilities, low self confidence, cognitive deficits, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders (ADHD).
Although most of us have not undergone specific social skills training, the development of these skills is crucial to how we navigate our daily lives. We often don’t give a second-thought to social cues like eye contact, body language, or tone of voice—we inherently read these subtleties and record them into our understanding of the situation. Those with ASD often fail to pick up on these kinds of subtleties in both body-and spoken languages, which can result in a complete communication breakdown. As people with ASD don’t get what’s being conveyed, it often leads to isolation (either self-imposed or by others) and depression. Also in children with ADHD often exhibit behavior that is interpreted as impulsive, disorganized, aggressive, overly sensitive, intense, emotional, or disruptive, and these behaviors often hinder their social interactions and struggle to match the social skills of their peers. Social skills are necessary for navigating society; they act as a guideline for one’s career, social life, and personal life.
SST is predominantly a behavioural therapy but cognitive therapy can also be used in some situations to maximize the success of SST. This can be done one-on-one or in a group situation.
Firstly, the therapist or other professionals assess specific skill deficits and impairments, find the most challenging or which skills could be improved. Once the specific target areas are identified, goals and techniques for improving social skills are introduced. Techniques in SST may include modelling, instruction, roleplaying, corrective feedback, positive reinforcement and weekly homework assignments.
PRACTISE, PRACTISE, PRACTISE! There is no other way to maintain or improve skills. People who have social difficulties will never improve by avoiding social situations. The skills learnt in SST must be remembered and constantly used in day to day activities. This is the only way you will overcome your social issues.