Occupational Therapy

Social Skills

Occupational therapists support children and young people to develop social and emotional understanding. Children need to develop skills in making and maintaining relationships, managing conflict and balancing social pressures.

Life can be hard for children and young people with social interaction difficulties, as they may struggle to understand social expectations and respond appropriately. Continued difficulties can lead to social isolation, conflict or reduced self-esteem.

Dive Deeper

My Child Struggles With Play & Social Skills

You may have noticed or be worried that;

  • You child has poor attention and flits between activities
  • They find it difficult to take turns or always wants to lead the game
  • Your child doesn't understand other people's feelings or can't express their own emotions
  • They struggle to make or keep friends
  • Your child needs an adult to play with them or chooses to play by themselves
  • They interrupt conversations or say random or inappropriate comments
  • They don't fully understand the consequences of their actions
  • Avoids school or difficulty in attending.

Speak to your child's occupational therapist or their school to see what support they can offer.

Ideas To Help

Self Awareness

For your child to respond appropriately, they need to become aware of their own emotions and how their actions make others feel.

Self Management

Discuss with your child how they respond to situations. Talk about the feelings in their body when they get cross or sad and how they react.

Activities to Try

Try role play, think of a situation which is particularly confusing or difficult for your child and try playing different characters to understand others thoughts and feelings.

Offer lots of free and relaxed play. Prompting taking turns and modelling of loosing a game.

Talk about ideas for starting conversations or speaking to other children. 

Could they join a new club, something they are interested in, to meet other children or young people with the same interests.

Who Can Help?

Children's Occupational Therapists work with children from birth to 18 (or 19 if attending Complex Need schools). If your child or young person is under the Occupational Therapy teams, you can speak to them about any questions you may have.

If you think your child requires specialist support, please speak to their GP.

If you have any questions about your child or young person's general health or development, you can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

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