Published in Attention Magazine by CHADD, October 2013 www.chadd.org
Things are never quite as simple as they seem and this is most certainly the case with social learning. As children, most of us followed a similar developmental journey when acquiring social skills but rarely do we now give thought to which skills allow us to function across different people and places each day. In fact, it is likely that we have no idea when we acquired the ability to take multiple perspectives, initiate communication at the right time and place, enter in and out of groups, play cooperatively or collaboratively exist with one another - it just happened. We certainly didn't place a milestone on when we began to understand context-specific concepts and the relationship to how people think, act and behave in that situation. And yet, development marched on and we emerged with these concepts and skills. Our innate ability to engage our social awareness and attention to self and others paved the way.
Now imagine the effects on social learning when an individual's innate driver of his or her own social attention and awareness is delayed or driven by a brain seeking the details that may or may not be a critical part of the social situation. The result is a Pandora's box filled with social challenges that foster more struggles and social issues and so on. So, the question becomes, Can we address the individual needs of different types of social learners in one size fits all social skills program?
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