Does this describe your son in Middle School?
- Has a hard time in unstructured social settings
- Socially/emotionally immature for his age
- Had friends in elementary school but seemed to become more socially isolated when he got to 5th/6th grade.
- Finds it easier to engage in screen-based activities to spending time with peers in real-life
- Spends most of his unstructured time alone, in front of video games/computers
- Wants to spend time with peers but does not initiate plans
- Says “friends” are kids he plays online video games with
- Seem to sometimes “lack a filter” or not pick up on social cues
- Relates better to younger/older children and adults than his similar-age peers
- Tries to fit in with a group of peers who are not accepting of him
- Says he has” friends” that he plays video games or sits at lunch with yet knows little about them
- Labels other kids who behave similar to him as “annoying” or “weird” because he doesn’t realize how he comes across to others
- Says “No” to being in new social situations with peers he does not know
During middle school social expectations and social and executive functioning demands increase significantly. Boys who struggle with social executive functioning and those who may be socially/emotionally immature for their age often find themselves spending more time home alone, often gaming excessively due to their lack of close friendships.
Sometimes, we find that boys in middle school have developed social anxiety because of their history of unsuccessful social experiences. In these cases we always address social anxiety first as this must be addressed before social and executive functioning issues.
Our groups focus on teaching social and executive functioning skills. The boys who attend our groups enjoy spending time and learning from each other in a structured but informal environment. Our groups are designed for boys who present with ADHD or learning differences.
Topics covered in our middle school groups include:
- Understanding other’s thoughts and feelings and how you come across to others
- Developing situational awareness (reading a room)
- Learning to be more flexible for the sake of being part of a group
- Being able to take directions from peers and give directions without being bossy
- Learning how to make plans and scaffold “hanging out” time
- Showing an interest in other boys to show them you want to be friends in ways that sound natural (aka not sounding like you walked out of a social skills group)
- Putting problems in a relevant context and engaging in independent problem solving skills
- Learning how to spend time with other boys, without the use of electronics
- Sharing the right amount of information in conversations (having reciprocal conversations instead of talking at other kids about your interests)
- Understanding the increased social expectations around hygiene/puberty
- Learning the “hidden rules” of male-male social communication
Our groups are based on the Social Thinking methodology and incorporate executive functioning strategies from Cognitive Connections, LLC as well as cognitive behavior strategies. Ryan Wexelblatt, Ride the Wave Director has completed more training in these methodologies than any provider of social learning programs in the area.
Please contact us to discuss how we can help your son connect with other boys, improve his executive functioning skills and social competency.