Children and adolescents are very busy developing in a short time span. In fact, they go through five of the eight developmental stages of life in just the time from birth to adolescence. As parents and caregivers watch their babies grow into toddlers and make their way to elementary, middle, and high school, they may question if their child is developing at a normal rate or if there is a problem. It is often hard to figure it out, especially in the “tween” and teen years when the emotions are turbulent. As they wind their way through the stages of development, some children have little difficulty, while others seem to encounter much strife in their lives.
Maybe you have asked yourself why your child is having trouble making friends. While this can be a difficult question for a parent, it is worrisome when their child rarely is invited on playdates and spends most free time alone at home. For children of all ages, their friends offer the acceptance, approval, and feeling of belonging they crave. When a child has difficulties connecting with other kids and does not form friendships, it can take a toll on self-esteem and leave them feeling lonely and frustrated. When your child is finding it hard to make friends, it may not be because of their personality. Trouble making friends can be the result of learning and attention issues.
If your child has a learning or attention issue that is causing them to have a hard time making friends, the child therapists and counselors at Thriveworks in Norfolk, VA can work with them to improve their social skills or any number of issues they may be dealing with. The child therapists and counselors at Thriveworks in Norfolk, VA are professionally licensed and have years of experience in the field. They’d be honored to help your children and/or teens.
Learning and Attention Issues Have a Direct Impact on Social Skills
It is helpful to know that some learning and attention issues greatly impact a child’s social skills. Sometimes, a child’s communication skills or listening comprehension skills can make conversation difficult. Other learning and attention issues create numerous behaviors that can get in the way of making friends. The following are just a few of the issues.
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Children with ADHD may lack self-control, be overactive, talk too much, say things without thinking or do not pay attention to what other people are saying.
- Executive Functioning Issues. Children with Executive Functioning Issues may have problems with sharing, taking turns, controlling emotions and accepting other people’s viewpoints.
- Nonverbal Learning Disabilities (NVLD). Children with NVLD may miss social cues, such as body language, expression and tone of voice. They may not understand humor or sarcasm and take what others say to them too literally.
- Auditory Processing Disorder (APD). Children with APD may miss the point of what others say, miss words in a conversation or have difficulty following the directions in games.
- Language Disorders. Children with Language Disorders may not understand the rules of conversation or may have trouble finding the right words to use. This can lead them to avoid talking when other children are around.
Not all children with learning and attention issues have a hard time making friends. In fact, some kids find that social skills are their strength. If it is an issue for your child, he or she is not alone. Kids with learning and attention issues face social challenges often. Compared with their peers, studies have shown that kids with learning and attention issues are more likely to be:
- Poorly accepted by their peers.
- Socially alienated from teachers and classmates.
- Seen by teachers as lacking social skills.
- Not chosen to play or join in group activities.
- Willing to conform to peer pressure.
Kids can feel they do not fit in at school, at extracurricular activities, and even with their siblings at home. They may require additional time and attention from teachers, parents, and others. Oftentimes, they may call negative attention to themselves by asking inappropriate questions, seem uninterested in other kids’ conversations, interrupt a lot, or move around constantly at the wrong times. Other children may react badly or turn away from the child.
If you think your child shows signs of a learning or attention issue, and you want to learn more to help them, it is wise to schedule a child therapy appointment.
Child Therapy Techniques for Learning and Attention Issues
One of the ways therapists work with children with issues, such as attention issues, is behavioral therapy—also known as behavior modification. Shown to be a successful treatment for children with ADHD, it involves reinforcing desired behaviors through rewards and praise and decreasing problem behaviors by setting limits and consequences. For example, one intervention may be that a teacher rewards a child with ADHD for taking steps toward raising a hand before speaking in class (even if the child still blurts out a comment). The theory is that rewarding the struggle toward these changes encourages the full new behavior. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there are three principles to any behavior therapy:
- Set specific goals. Set clear goals for the child, such as focusing on homework for a certain time or sharing toys with friends.
- Provide rewards and consequences. The child receives a reward for positive reinforcement when he shows the desired behavior. In addition, the child receives a consequence when he fails to meet a goal.
- Continue using the rewards and consequences. Using the rewards and consequences consistently for a long time period will shape the child’s behavior in a positive way.
The professional therapists and counselors at Thriveworks in Norfolk, VA are experienced in child and adolescent therapy and provide counseling to work with the child and the family in many situations. A child with a learning disability may struggle with low self-esteem, frustration and other problems. The therapists at Thriveworks in Norfolk, VA can work with the child to understand feelings, develop coping tools and learn how to build healthy relationships.
Child Therapy in Norfolk, VA for Mental Health and Other Problems
The therapists and counselors at Thriveworks in Norfolk, VA have professional licenses and credentials. They are also knowledgeable of the many child and adolescent issues, including learning and attention disorders, major and chronic illness of somebody in the family, special needs and much more. The therapists work with the child and parents to ensure that everybody is comfortable in making strides toward a happier and healthier life.
Therapists and counselors at Thriveworks in Norfolk, VA have an understanding of the physical, mental and behavioral development of children and adolescents and are experts in the specific issues they face. Call Thriveworks in Norfolk, VA at (757) 317-4315 for child and adolescent therapy and counseling, where you won’t be placed on a waiting list. Appointments are available in 24 hours for most new clients.