According to Harvard’s longest study of adult life, relationships play the most important role in making human beings happy. Social connections not only enhance mental and emotional well-being, but they also affect our physical wellness. This fact is noticeably true even early in childhood. However, certain difficulties may affect a child’s ability to interact with his or her peers, teachers, and even family members. How can parents, teachers, and professionals help children develop great social skills? We bring in Alex Kelly to talk to us about this topic.
Alex Kelly is a speech and language therapist with over 30 years of experience working with children and adolescents who have difficulties with their social skills, self-esteem, and relationships. Alex is best known for being the author of 13 books including the hugely popular Talkabout Resources, a collection of books that teach social skills to children. Together with her husband, who was a teacher, Alex runs Speaking Space, a business that provides training and consultancy work as well as speech, language, and occupational therapies for over 40 local schools. The business also provides a day service to adults with intellectual disabilities and autism. Speaking Space is the only speech and therapy service in the United Kingdom to be accredited by the National Autism Society and the only day service in England to have advance status. Alex also conducts research and lectures internationally on her field of expertise.
Listen to my conversation with Alex Kelly and learn:
- What got her into speech pathology
- How Alex realized she wanted to focus on social skills
- The critical role that social skills play in the lives of children
- The definition of social skills
- The components of social skills and how they develop from birth to school age
- Why assertiveness is the final stage of social skills
- Why getting help for social skills when your child is already at school is already quite late
- The most common problems Alex encounters in her work
- Some successful stories
- How important a child’s environment is in building his or her social skills
- The relationship between self-awareness, self-esteem, and social skills
- Why being alone and not wanting friends is not necessarily a bad thing
- How technology can help build social skills among children
- How social skills learned at school could be transferred in home life
Alex Kelly’s Top Three Tips for Teaching Social Skills to Children
- Find the child’s motivator and work with that
- Look at the child’s environment and modify it to support the child’s confidence
- Teach social skills in a safe space
“If you got a child that is struggling to make friends—struggling in their social skills—don’t pitch in and start teaching them a skill that is too difficult.”
“Get inside your child’s head. Think about what motivates them, what’s important to them.”
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Information is to be used at the discretion of the consumer/ listener.
The information presented does not replace or substitute the expert advice received from a direct consultation with the relevant qualified professional.