Is it important to promote social skills and prosocial development in children?
A childs social competence is a critical developmental achievement for later social success (Sroufe & Rutter, 1984). Social competence has also been strongly associated with successful school performance, transition into school and work settings, better job opportunities and corresponding adult support, and improved overall interactions with others (Rimm-Kaufman, Pianta, Cox, 2000). Without intervention, children who demonstrate poor social skills may continue to experience problems into middle childhood and beyond.
|Children with good social skills||Children with poor social skills|
Developmental delays, however, affect the ways children demonstrate and develop social skills.
Below Average Intelligence and Significant Impairment in Adaptive Skills
Impairment in at least two adaptive skill areas such as communication, self-care, home living, social skills, community use, self-direction, health and safety, functional academics, leisure, and work.
Qualitative Impairment in Social Interactions
Impairment in use of nonverbal behaviors ~ eye gaze, posture, facial expression, gestures
Failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
Lack of spontaneous seeking to share interests/achievements
Lack social/emotional reciprocity
Restricted, repetitive, & stereotyped behaviors, interests, and activities
Preoccupation with 1+ restricted, stereotyped interest, abnormal in intensity or focus
Inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals
Stereotyped/repetitive motor mannerisms
Persistent preoccupation with parts of objects
Qualitative Impairment in Communication
Delay in or total lack of the development of spoken language
If adequate speech, then impaired ability to initiate or sustain conversation
Stereotyped and repetitive use of language/idiosyncratic language
Lack of varied, spontaneous pretend play or social imitative play
Poor communication abilities in nearly all individuals
Some never acquire functional speech
Content of speech is often related to immediate environmental events
Repetitive and stereotypic utterances are most common
Most characteristic: inability to use speech in socially communicative way
Often, delayed or immediate echolalia
Unusual volume of (yelling, whispering, wide fluctuations in voice volume)
Impaired nonverbal communication