Experiences that help your young adult develop social skills

New Directions Staff

You worry about your young adult.

It’s difficult to hold on to a job or build new, or maintain current, relationships if your young adult doesn’t know how to interact with people very well. Or, your young adult avoids scenarios where he or she will have to be around people.

Social skills are something your young adult can improve at any point, however. He or she just needs some practice.

Do Some Role-Playing

Role-play is a good way for you to practice appropriate behaviors with your young adult in a low-stress way. You can come up with any likely scenario, such as how to start a conversation at a party, and act it out in a relaxed setting. Being able to act out scenarios without the pressures of being in public should help your young adult better retain what he or she learns.

Missing What Others Say

If your young adult has a tendency to not hear or mishear what others say to him or her, teach them to repeat back to the speaker and ask something such as, “Did I hear that correctly?” or “Is that what you said?” It also might be helpful to teach your young adult to ask others to repeat back what he or she tells them to make sure they are conveying themselves well in conversations.

Interacting with the Public

Bring your young adult with you to run errands, such as going to the bank or grocery shopping. While you’re out, encourage him or her to interact with other people in lines or the store employees. Afterward, you may want to have him or her explain to you how well the interaction worked or didn’t.

Joining a Club

Capitalize on a special interest your young adult may have by encouraging him or her to join an organization that focuses on that interest. You may also be able to find a social group in your area that sets up a variety of types of events for its members.

These types of group outings give your young adult plenty of opportunities to practice social skills and meet new people in what may be a fairly informal environment. Having the shared interest means an immediate level of camaraderie amongst members, as well as lots of ways to get involved in conversations.

Take Classes

Consider having your young adult sign up for lessons or classes in whatever area interests them. Cooking or crafts are good ones. Just like the benefits of a club discussed above, your young adult will find it easier to make friends among people who have similar interests.

Find Groups for Young Adults with Special Needs

If your young adult has special needs, consider clubs or classes geared towards persons with special needs. Getting comfortable with people who are experiencing the same problems may be what your young adult needs to start progress toward the independent lifestyle you want for him or her.

Get Them Out There

The most important thing when trying to improve your adult child’s social skills is to continue pushing him or her to practice. This means they need to participate in activities where people are around, preferably many people. Feel free to get creative with the ways you introduce your child to the wider world. With more experiences, he or she will learn to respond much better in social situations.

Try Our Social Skills Program

Sources:

Anxiety BC – Effective Communication-Improving Your Social Skills – https://www.anxietybc.com/self-help/effective-communication-improving-your-social-skills

National Resource Center on ADIHD – Social Skills in Adults with ADHD – https://www.help4adhd.org/en-us/living/relandsoc/WWK15

The National Autistic Society – Social Skills for Adolescents and Adults – https://www.autism.org.uk/living-with-autism/communicating-and-interacting/social-skills/social-skills-for-adolescents-and-adults.aspx