Addressing The Social-Emotional Needs of All Children In A School-Age Program
There are chances that those with developmental disabilities may experience more difficulty in developing their social-emotional skills. It will undoubtedly affect their social interactions with other children because of various reasons, fear of ridicule and embarrassment is one of the major causes. Some children may show challenging behaviors, but it’s important to support them so that their school experience can be better.
Each Child Is Unique
Some children may have mental health issues, learning disabilities, and behavioral conditions that cause delays in their social-emotional development. Examples of that may be ASD or Autism Spectrum Disorder (high and low functioning children), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyslexia, Speech deficiency, neurological syndromes, and more. For these cases, there are plans customized to fit their needs so that they could still be able to meet their school and personal goals despite their disabilities and delays.
An example of a customized plan is this:
A child with ASD, as diagnosed by a neurodevelopment pediatrician, will have to go to treatment to correct the particular issues. What are these possible problems, then? It can be a variety of conditions – impulsivity, hyperactiveness, lacks focus, inability to stay put, can’t read or speak well, among other things. With this, the child may require a treatment plan which includes Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, and Educational Therapy.
Peer-Mediated Interventions By Children
There are peer-mediated interventions which involve plans that would purposely help children with difficulty in their social-emotional skills. What happens is that those with difficulty in their social-emotional skills are partnered with children equipped with advanced social-emotional skills. In this way, the children can interact with others who possess different levels of skills. They will have lots of opportunities to practice their social skills.
An example of doing this is by having an activity to pair them that would require them to sharing of toys or materials. They have to take turns in using these objects. However, it is important to remember that there must be at least one socially competent child who will follow what you tell them and is liked by the other children. In this way, they can assist in the role of the teacher or be a guide among their peers. Not only will this help those who are struggling with their social-emotional skills but it will also assist the leader to improve more on their social skills. By being the prompter of the activities, like encouraging what games to play and interacting with everyone, the leader child will also practice his communication abilities.
How About Children With Developmental Issues?
There are children with developmental issues like autism that will be able to participate in activities and facilitate social interactions although with some difficulty. As such, they would need verbal instructions and directions whereas other children would only need visual support to make the activity more exciting. There are also children who would do better with scripts to improve their social skills.
To make any program successful, you must know each child – his abilities, potential, and possible weakness. This would ensure that they all feel welcomed, accepted, and loved. There are also kits that would help the kids become involved with each other and learn how to communicate with their families.
Social skills allow children to develop their core values and facilitate natural development through play and interaction. Since you’re responsible for improving the social-emotional development of children, it is best to assist them in this way:
- Be supportive towards children by building a respectful environment for them
- Show how to express healthy emotions, interact with others, and how to manage stress
- Plan and facilitate activities that will promote cooperative learning
- Allow free play so that their social skills can develop naturally
By doing this, children will grow up with social-emotional skills which can help them become better adults in the society.