Social Skills for Children

We use puppets as part of Social Development Treatment and Intervention at Orchard Human Services. Children love to play … and learn best when they are having fun. So we bring our adorable monster puppets into the learning space to help children gain confidence, feel safe, and practice communicating with their ”puppet friends”.

Social skills are critical for all children. Emotional self-regulation is part of the developmental process. They need to be able to socialize with friends, classmates, teachers, staff, and administration while in school. At home and in the community, social skills may be even more important. A child who is lost, for example, must know how to identify a safe adult … such as a police officer or security guard … to ask for help.

Yet, many children suffer from a delay or disruption in healthy social development. Social anxiety and fear of speaking to new people affect some children and teens. Others are self-conscious and limit free communication in order to avoid saying something silly.

Then there are the children who have challenges with socialization and communication as a result of a neurodevelopmental disorder, trauma history, or other personal and family challenge. They need help with the capacity for emotional self-regulation that they can use to self-calm, remain focused, and be effective in the world.

No matter what the cause is, all children with delayed social development will benefit from meaningful Social Skills Interventions and Treatment. At Orchard Human Services, we strive to bring evidence-based and effective treatments to our consumers.

Children may engage in games and play to promote healthy social development. Most children love playing with puppets. We have two monster puppets that are favorites of children … puppet play really helps children who are shy, withdrawn, are diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder/are Neuro-atypical, or have a social skills delay.

We use a unique combination of treatment strategies and interventions to help your child catch up on lost social developmental steps. Some of our special work includes Socialization Training for children who are Neuro-atypical, or are diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder; who suffer from Attachment Disorder [including RAD and DSED]; and who are simply naturally shy and withdrawn.

A child might benefit from a gentle person-centered technique, play therapy, or a cognitive behavioral strategy. Orchard even has advanced strategies including brain-based interventions, bibliotherapy, trauma-informed care, and biofeedback.

Socialization is a critical childhood capacity. Just as important is emotional development. Your child’s socioemotional growth will in great part determine efficacy and life-satisfaction later in life. Children who are effective communicators and have a good handle on handling and understanding emotions tend to be more balanced and effective in the world.

Attachment development is a domain that is closely related to socioemotional development. In a way, they are like colors. While red, yellow, and blue make up the primary colors, every other color under the sun is comprised of a combination of these individual colors. Social, emotional, and attachment development are like the primary developmental components of a child’s overall development. At Orchard, we focus on promoting all these developmental domains … to help your child grow to be happy, healthy, and whole.

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Below are some questions that we often receive at Orchard … with our responses to the author.

Question: What is different about how Orchard Human Services approaches Social Skill?

Orchard approaches Developmental Delays and Challenge of Social Development a very special way. Our Developmental Framework is a trans-theoretical model that allows our therapists to focus in on the child’s developmental needs. Then when we identify an issue that needs intervention, the trans-theoretical aspect of our model allows us to select the right treatment modality for that issue, at that moment, with that specific child. As a result, no two intervention and treatment plans look exactly alike. Our Developmental Framework ensure that each child receive a personalized and targeted treatment and intervention that is designed to support positive outcomes for the child.

Question: My child struggles to engage socially … but is also moody and angry. What can you do to help her?

Each clue you provide helps us narrow down the specific intervention that is best for your child. If a child is struggling academically, but is also angry and moody a great deal of the time, a more targeted intervention and treatment plan may be in order. Such a child may benefit from making a warm and compassionate connection with a mental health professional. If the child does suffer from a developmental delay in social development … it is also possible that the child also has a developmental lag in the areas of emotional self-regulation and self-calming. That could explain the moodiness and anger, and lead to a more focused and effective treatment and intervention for that specific child.

Question: What about my child’s diagnoses? Will her diagnosis prevent her from receiving care through Orchard Human Services, Inc.

Many time, issues in social development are a reflection of deeper issues. Some children have been diagnosed with a variety of challenges that can interfere with proper classroom conduct and learning. Just a few of the diagnoses we often see include ADD, ADHD, OCD, ODD, RAD, DSED, EBD, and Conduct Disorder. Orchard takes a careful look at your child’s overall mental status, scholastic aptitude, and ability to self-regulate and engage in positive behavior. We do not shy away from most diagnoses … but, rather, we use the information about a child’s diagnoses to help inform the next step for a safe and effective social – and mental health – developmental treatment and intervention.

How long do we have to wait for an appointment?

Orchard works with a team of professionals to ensure seamless and effective care for all consumers. Due to the high demand for our high quality services, we offer a combination of individual, group intervention, and online parent training and coaching services to bring as much healing and recovery to as many infants, children, teens, adults, and families as possible.

Question: What if my child needs help with Special Education or other disability?

Orchard’s staff are trained in Special Education supportive strategies. That includes helping parents and schools create the most effective IEP and Section 504 Plan goals and strategies. Our staff will reach out to promote your child’s learning, growth, and development across the may settings of life … from home to community to school. Where your child goes, Orchard will follow.

Dr. Darleen Claire Wodzenski is a Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Special Education Consultant, and Non-Clinical Psychoneuroeducational Psychologist. See the STAFF page for more details about her training and specializations.

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