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Forum -> Parenting our children -> Our Challenging Children (gifted, ADHD, sensitive, defiant)
Can someone explain social skills groups to me?



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amother
OP


 

Post Thu, Mar 30 2023, 3:07 pm
Adhd 7 year old is being recommended for a social skills group, both by his doctor and the school. There's no question he has some social struggles and needs some help, if this is what's being suggested I'll give it a try. But the one thing that gives me pause is that presumably the other kids in the group are also kids who struggle socially. So realistically, how helpful are these groups? Can someone who has done this before explain?
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amother
Daffodil


 

Post Thu, Mar 30 2023, 3:19 pm
Recommend watching Dr. Russel Barkley's 30 things parents should know about ADHD on YouTube. He's considered among the most respected psychiatrists in ADHD and the videos, for me, were probably my favourite on this topic.

I haven't personally dealt with skills class. He mentions them in the videos. I understood that he doesn't find them helpful at all if the skills groups don't take place where the child's everyday settings. And he also had concerns about making kids sit in a class with other children who may have even worse behavioral issues. But I think in general he differentiates between two groups under the ADHD umbrella. He believes one group actually has something else but gets lumped there even though he thinks they have something else. And for that group, I forgot if he said that skills group might help?
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mha3484




 
 
    
 

Post Thu, Mar 30 2023, 3:38 pm
I also am very mixed on social skills groups.

For my child that socially had the hardest time, I found that having his therapist see him at school during recess time was the most helpful. He was able to pinpoint the exact issues and work on them in school and out of school.

This same child was in a theraputic program for a year with a very small class and 2 teachers. I did feel like the social coaching he got that year was really helpful. Being able to direct him in the moment on some of the issues he was dealing with was a major help but it was not just an hour a week. It was hours a day.
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LovesHashem




 
 
    
 

Post Thu, Mar 30 2023, 3:46 pm
It's like group therapy/suport group you have for adults.

The therapist teach/coach/play games with the kids and they get to learn and test it out on each other, make friends etc.

I went to a bunch as a kid. I don't remember if it helped or not. I didn't make friends there as everyone else wasn't Jewish.
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amother
Crystal


 

Post Thu, Mar 30 2023, 3:49 pm
IMHO
It’s a farce. Felt like my child was a Guinea pig in some sort of experiment. He hated it. Didn’t gain anything except came home feeling stupid and punished. School pushed me but it was counterproductive. I had a very bad feeling about it and wasn’t wrong
ETA the agency made a killing off of it …
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LovesHashem




 
 
    
 

Post Fri, Mar 31 2023, 2:49 am
amother Crystal wrote:
IMHO
It’s a farce. Felt like my child was a Guinea pig in some sort of experiment. He hated it. Didn’t gain anything except came home feeling stupid and punished. School pushed me but it was counterproductive. I had a very bad feeling about it and wasn’t wrong
ETA the agency made a killing off of it …


There's bad social skills groups like there's bad therapists. Not everyone who advertises they do it is qualified or good.
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amother
Daffodil


 

Post Fri, Mar 31 2023, 4:16 am
LovesHashem wrote:
There's bad social skills groups like there's bad therapists. Not everyone who advertises they do it is qualified or good.


I'm just going to recommend Dr. Barkley's lecture again. For many ADHD kids it's not a matter of having the knowledge, it's the regulation/impulsivity. To my understanding, there's no evidence that these social skills groups (if they're outside of the child's usual setting) is helpful to them. I feel for the op you're responding to.

I assume it's all well-intentioned, but the frustrating thing is how misunderstood ADHD is.
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imasinger




 
 
    
 

Post Fri, Mar 31 2023, 5:11 am
My kids have been to fabulous and helpful groups, and to less useful ones that we quit after a week or two.

The good ones were good because:

- it was a good match of kids on a similar enough level
- kids who had trouble picking up social cues could learn some tips and tricks through playing games, in a nonthreatening environment
- kids who had trouble making friends because they didn't fit the mold, stood a chance of finding friends who would be less judgmental (sometimes, one good friend is the difference between a kid who feels like a failure and is a huge target for bullies, and one who is different but not)
- there was a counselor/therapist who could identify where social interaction went off course, and gently guide kids how to do it differently
- there were fun games and activities, and a clear structure
- open conversations were had about topics like friendship, relationship with classmates, feelings -- things that some kids never got to articulate elsewhere. And because it was in a group, it didn't feel as scary as one on one therapy.

The ones we didn't like generally had mismatched groups, or the kids complained they were bored.
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