Improving Social Skills among Teenagers with ADHD

Boulder Creek Academy pic

Boulder Creek Academy
Image: bouldercreekacademy.com

Since 1993, Boulder Creek Academy has helped teenage boys and girls with academic, clinical, and behavioral challenges to embrace their strengths and flourish academically. Among the students served by Boulder Creek Academy are teens with ADHD, for whom social interactions can be challenge. Below are three ways in which teenagers with ADHD can develop their social skills:

Discuss ADHD: It’s normal for teens to feel embarrassed when talking about their ADHD, but explaining the issue to their friends can help. When friends know the reasons why a teen often loses track of time or forgets to meet them, they will be more understanding of the situation instead of simply becoming angry.

Join clubs: The key to joining a school club or youth group is finding one that fits the teen’s interests. Social interactions become easier for teens with ADHD when there is already a shared interest or passion.

Practice with family: At home, teens with ADHD should practice putting their thoughts into words. This can be accomplished by reading a book or watching a television show together, and then summarizing what the family watched or read. Additionally, parents can plan group outings to make it easier for teens to hang out with friends.

Helping a Child Who Struggles with Social Skills

Boulder Creek Academy pic

Boulder Creek Academy
Image: bouldercreekacademy.com

Boulder Creek Academy, a therapeutic boarding school located in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, has extensive experience working with students between the ages of thirteen and eighteen. In particular, Boulder Creek Academy’s program helps students who struggle socially or who have a nonverbal learning disorder or low self-esteem.

Many parents struggle to support a child who has a tough time navigating social environments with peers and making friends. The child might not want to go to school due to being a victim of bullying, for example, or he or she might feel socially isolated. While parents might feel powerless to help, there are a number of approaches they can take to better understand their child and provide assistance.

First of all, parents should avoid the mindset that something is wrong with their child because he or she has trouble building friendships. Instead, they should think of interacting with others as a skill. While some children are naturally good at this skill, others take longer to learn. However, children can make progress with the right therapeutic guidance and with supportive practice. For instance, parents might focus on teaching particular skills, such as small talk or understanding nonverbal conversational cues.

To help a child build self-confidence and provide situations where he or she can learn and practice these skills, parents might also work to encourage the child’s interests, whether they relate to music, sports, art, or another area. This can provide an outlet for the child, especially if the activity takes place outside of the child’s regular school environment. Since many times teasing or bullying can arise out of a social hierarchy at school, engaging in activities outside of school with different peers can be a big help.