Executive Functioning and Brain Training for Social-Emotional Skills
It’s heartbreaking when your child doesn’t have any friends. Not being invited to parties, ignored, teased, or rejected by others doesn’t just end in childhood. Did you know that maturity levels of individuals with ADHD, learning disabilities, and some neurodivergent thinkers are anywhere from three to seven years behind age-appropriate levels?
Some individuals know the basics (greetings, starting conversations, staying on the topic) but for various reasons are unable to apply them to social interactions, while others may have no awareness of these skills. Just like reading can be confusing, decoding and comprehension skills are required skills to be efficient and fluent readers. One skill is not good without the other. The same applies to social skills. Deficits in social skills fall into two categories: acquisition (knowing the skills) and performance (using them with others).
What’s Going On?
Cognitive Processing Skills Predict Social Skills
Have you tried social-emotional learning and social skills training programs with little to no improvement? Maybe you have seen some progress, but it’s not enough to catch up to others? Social problem solving relies on the ability to accurately read verbal and nonverbal cues from others, understand their meanings, and respond to them. Poor executive functioning and processing skills (auditory, visual, working memory, processing speed) make it harder to understand and remember what was said, keep up with the speed of conversations, and visually process body language. All of these skills work together to make this happen. Even if only one of these skills is weak, that can make it harder than it already is.
So, What’s the Problem Then?
The problem is virtually all social skills programming and services offered do not address the deficient underlying cognitive processing skills required for social-emotional learning to take place. Instead, the components of social skills are taught (sequential steps) along with a language- based approach. While these methods are good, they are not enough for those with weak processing skills. These individuals will continue to struggle well into adulthood until these skills are remediated.
It’s Never Too Late!
Improving cognitive and executive functioning skills can be done at any age! When children and adults are processing efficiently (more easily and quickly), they can better learn receive the benefit of social-emotional and social skills training programs that put them on the path the success! Linda Karanzalis has been in the forefront of social skills learning and training since the mid-1990s, well before they were available in the mainstream across the county (the first to offer in South Jersey and Delaware Valley). We have the expertise to help you!