Social skills deficits are the most subtle and profound deficits a child can have. Everything else can be perfectly normal. A child can be good looking, intelligent with a strong command of language and still be lost socially.
Imagine That For A Moment
Think back to the children you knew in school. How many did you know who either “just didn’t get it” or were viewed as being weird? If you’re like the rest of us, you can remember several children. However, chances are you didn’t notice the struggle that they went through every day of their lives. Children with social skills deficits are often bullied or outcast by their peers.
The True Cost
Therein lays the true cost of having poor social skills, loneliness. We humans are social creatures. It has often been said that “the richness of our lives can be best counted not by the materials we collect but by the friends we can count”. It does not matter who you are, everyone needs to have the ability to navigate the social world.
While not everyone needs to be gregarious, everyone needs to be able to develop and maintain relationships. That is because almost everything we do in life depends on interacting with other people. Even when we don’t say a word we are communicating socially. In fact, between 60-70% of all communication is nonverbal. You can imagine how big of a blind-spot this can be for children with social deficits.
Not being able to read and appropriately respond to nonverbal social cues is called dyssemia. When a child has dyssemia they may stand too close to others or have a tendency to respond inappropriately to the emotions of others with inappropriate facial expressions. This can make them seem insensitive when in reality that is not the case. They just do not know how to respond appropriately.
While the inability to read social cues is a component of disorders such as Autism and Asperger’s it is not unique to them. In fact research shows that neurological disorders account for only 5% of all dyssemia. Another 10% is made up of those who suffered an emotional trauma that derailed their social development. However, a full 85% of those with dyssemia are unable to read and respond to non-verbal communication simply because they never learned how.
Fortunately Social Skills Can Be Learned
It does not matter why your child is having trouble socially, social skills can be learned. While it is true that different children will learn at different speeds and some will become much more proficient than others, everyone can improve their ability to navigate the social world.
I assume that’s why you are here. You are looking to help your child. That is our goal here, we want to help you. It does not matter if your child needs a little help, or a lot. We are developing this site to help empower you as a parent.