Training in Core Social Skills

Level 1: “The Hidden Conversation”

Level 2: “Successful Communication”

Level 3: “Positive Peer Interaction Skills”

Target Group:  Children who have difficulty interacting successfully with others due to social skill deficits.

Please note, children and teens may take all three levels, or only those needed.

Level 1:  The Hidden Conversation

Children can have difficulty interacting with others because they miss the subtle nuances of social interaction, or what we call social cues.  They hear the words people say, but don’t understand the full message because they do not understand the “hidden conversation” that is the part of the message that includes all the nonverbal ways we communicate.  They also may be unaware of the subtle messages they send, unintentionally, through their own body language or tone of voice.

Our goal is to help children enhance their ability to interact with others by learning the importance of nonverbal communication and how “hidden” messages are sent to us and by us.  Children will become more proficient at responding appropriately to these messages, as well as sending messages that help them interact more successfully with others.

Emphasis will be on the following:

    • Learning vocabulary for feelings and how they are communicated.

    • Recognizing, understanding and responding to nonverbal and contextual cues from others (body language, facial

         expression, etc.).

    • Recognizing and using voice cues such as tone and volume to communicate effectively.

    • Looking at our own nonverbal communication and recognizing how it can affect the messages we send and how others receive


    • Understanding how our messages and behaviour can positively or negatively affect our ability to build social relationships.

Level 2:  Successful Communication

Some students have difficulty interacting with others because they have not developed effective communication skills.  They may have difficulty listening and responding appropriately to others to keep the conversation “flowing”.  Students may also have difficulty knowing how to initiate conversations or join in to those that are already ongoing.  They may not understand “conversational manners” that make the conversation a positive experience for both parties.  Perhaps they have difficulty knowing how to express emotions and needs in an effective manner.  They may experience anxiety and withdraw from social experiences, or peers may withdraw from them.

Emphasis will be on the following:

    • Conversations (initiating, listening, interrupting, staying on topic, conversational manners)

    • Offering and asking for help; Asking questions

    • Joining in; Including others

    • Expressing emotions and needs in an effective way

    • Understanding figurative speech (sarcasm, irony, similes, metaphors, etc.)

Level 3:  Positive Peer Interaction

This program is for students who would like to gain greater self-control within themselves in relation to emotions and handling difficult situations.  They may not know how to handle problems involving peers, or be able to engage in effective conflict resolution.  So they may react in a passive manner, without their needs really being met, or they may act in an aggressive manner, trying to solve problems and have their needs met in a way that might actually distance themselves from their peers.  They may not be aware of the power that they truly possess, or the steps, to manage their own emotions and situations in an effective and successful way, which in turn creates stronger, more positive social relationships.

Emphasis will be on the following:

    • Dealing with feelings (anger, fear/anxiety, disappointment, failure, humour, embarrassment)

    • Understanding the feelings of others

    • Recognizing stress signs and causes; Self-monitoring stress levels; Stress prevention

    • Positive thinking – the connection between our thoughts and our feelings

    • Being assertive

    • Accepting consequences

    • Problem solving and conflict resolution (negotiating, compromising, cooperating, etc.)

    • Dealing with teasing, peer pressure

    • Self-control

Corinne Eckert  |  Registered Psychologist  |  11404-142 Street  |  Edmonton  |  Alberta  |  T5M 1V1