Is the best predictor of future success a child’s memory or academic ability in kindergarten? No. Research finds the best predictor of success may be a child’s social skills.
According to a study published in American Journal of Public Health, “Children who demonstrate more "pro-social" skills — those who share more and who are better listeners — are more likely to have jobs and stay out of trouble as young adults.”
In the past, I have attended Michelle Garcia Winner’s “Social Thinking® Across the Home and School Day” seminar. The focus of the conversation concerned what encompasses social thinking and its role in daily conversation.
What is social thinking? Generally, it is the ability to consider your own and others’ thoughts, emotions and beliefs to help interpret and respond to the information in your mind – and possibly through your social and behavioral interactions.
For example, when meeting someone for the first time, it is polite to look the person in the eyes and introduce yourself.
This seems natural and second nature, right? Not necessarily. From the time children are born, they mimic adults’ social interactions and learn how to effectively share space. Although, some children can decipher “hidden agendas” in conversations and understand underlying social mores, some need more explicit social direction.
Does this sound familiar? Have you ever seen a child walk over to a pregnant woman and ask “Why are you fat?” Although deemed cute if the child is elementary school-aged, it is less endearing if the child is a teenager.
It is important to remember that social skills increase significantly in nuance and sophistication with age. Some children’s “errors” are due to the fact that they simply don’t recognize the rules have changed. These children need additional guidance in adapting their behavior effectively based on the situation and what they know about the people involved. This assistance will help illicit the reaction and response that are the social mores.
As a Certified Athletic Trainer, how can I better lead by social example? How can we, as parents, become better communicators?
As the founder of Fitness for Health, a state-of-the-art, therapeutic, fitness center working with children and adults to maintain weight management, improve athletic training, obtain occupational therapy or physical therapy, or members of the special needs community to reach their full physical potential, how can I help families develop the ability to empathize and better interpret/respond to social interactions?
Fitness for Health is proud to offer two summer programs in August to help kids and teenagers develop their social skills before the beginning of the new school year.
- B Social Therapeutic Summer Program – This program for ages 4-10 will integrate Social Thinking® and movement in collaboration with Sue Abrams, M.A., CCC-SLP, a Speech/Language Pathologist. Concepts will be introduced in a fun and motivating way encouraging participants to explore and improve their social thinking skills and motor development.
- B Social – Team Building for Adolescents with Social Challenges – This program is specifically geared for students ages 11-16 who have ADD/ADHD, Asperger’s, Social Communication Disorder, and Autism Spectrum Disorder. This program focuses on developing your teen’s social competency.