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Learning Social Cues

Social Tips for Children Who Don’t Make Friends Easily

Children who don't make friends easily may also struggle with ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, and Asperger Syndrome (ASD) making it difficult for them to understand social cues. If they have difficulty spotting or using cues, there are plenty of tips that can help children learn how to interact with their peers so they can form friendships.

Making Eye Contact

Making eye contact is an essential skill in most societies. People who feel uncomfortable making eye contact often have difficulty forming relationships, because they seem untrustworthy or disinterested.

Luckily, children can learn to improve this ability. Since making eye contact is a voluntary movement, many children find that they get better at it with practice.

Parents and counselors may want to start with brief periods of eye contact. As children get more comfortable, they can practice for longer periods. A child may never learn to enjoy making eye contact, but he or she can at least follow the social cues that will help form friendships.

Children who experience exceptional distress while making direct eye contact may need to focus on making eye contact every few seconds, holding eye contact for as long as possible or looking at another part of the face.

Identifying Emotions

Children who have social disorders may have difficulty identifying emotions in their peers. They may not recognize that a frown expresses sadness or that a smile expresses happiness. These are some of the most important social skills for children to learn, so it's important to find effective coping strategies.

Young children may learn to identify emotions by looking at pictures in magazines. Parents, teachers, or counselors can ask the child what emotions people in the magazines are expressing. By studying images that cover a wide range of emotions, children can learn to identify them appropriately while interacting with peers.

Nonverbal Communication

Several social disorders, including ADHD and Aspergers syndrome (ASD), can make it difficult for children to understand nonverbal communication. They may miss cues from their peers, or they may confuse their peers by misinterpreting cues.

Improving nonverbal communication can be difficult because the problem usually includes several social issues. The child may not understand the meanings of facial expressions, hand gestures, posture, and other subtle aspects of nonverbal communication.

Parents who have children who face this challenge may want to enroll them in classes that teach social skills for children. Look for friendship groups that are run by trained social workers or psychologists. Some schools and therapists run friendship groups, and private groups may also be available. The lessons children learn within the safety of the group should give them the skills they need to make friends in the bigger world.

Social Issues and The Brain Balance Program®

If your child struggles with social skills deficits related to a learning or behavioral disorder, we invite you to consider The Brain Balance Program

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