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What are social skills & why are they important?

Social skills are are the skills we use everyday to communicate and interact with others. For many children, social skills present as a challenge at school and home. They include verbal and non-verbal communication, including speech, body language and facial expressions. Strong social skills  are demonstrated when one knows how to behave in social settings, and understand implied communication with others. 


Social skills are important in maintaining friendships and positive interactions with others. They are crucial in handling challenging situations effectively, recognising and managing emotions in themselves and others. Similarly, they are also involved in regulating behaviours through thoughtful decision making and reflecting on feelings. 


                                                                       Click on the image for social skills in Action
                                                                                                               (Kids matter, 2015)

How to tell if a child experiences difficulties with social skills...


If a child experiences difficulties with social skills, they may: 

  • Avoid eye contact

  • Lack turn taking abilities 

  • Struggle with body language i.e. standing too close/far

  • Difficulty interpreting non verbal communication including facial expressions, tone and body gestures

  • Difficulty asking appropriate questions 

  • Difficulty responding appropriately in changing social circumstances 

  • Difficulty with executive functioning in play and social situations 

  • Difficulty describing and responding to other emotions and also regulating their own 

  • Difficulty initiating and responding to joint attention

  • Experience difficulties understanding hidden social cues