Do learning disabilities affect social interactions?
It is possible for children with learning disabilities to find social interactions challenging. They might be stiff in conversation, unable to register or respond to social cues, and find it hard to express themselves in a way which might come across as natural for most other people.
The Truth About the Mechanics of Social Behaviour
What seems like “natural” behaviour such as greeting people, answering their questions precisely etc is in fact not natural. Our brain works through a long cognitive process in order for us to produce simple replies. This is a three part process which includes:
- Retrieval of language
When we listen to something we first try to comprehend it, then we organise our thoughts around it and based on priority pick a response, finally we retrieve the language to articulate this response. Children with learning disabilities could have issues with these steps.
Comprehension can be hard due to non-verbal learning disorders, wherein kids are unable to pick up on social cues or be intuitive around patterns. When trying to organise information, kids may not be able to prioritise the ideal response. They may have the urge to reply to something rudely and thus cannot self regulate. Lastly, retrieval of language can be especially hard for children with dyslexia, it is hard to find the right word to express oneself verbally.
The more important thing about all these functions is that they can be taught to kids, and improve their communication. It is common for kids to be misdiagnosed with autism due to its association with socially awkward behaviour. But for many children, the social awkwardness is just a symptom of the deeper issue of learning disability. While treating learning disabilities, the focus is usually on reading and writing skills as they are considered at the forefront of academic learning. EmpowerKidz is attempting to be conscious of working on communication skills with children. We recognise the importance of socialisation and acceptance amongst children with learning disabilities. To work on this, we aim to use methods of positive reinforcement and a sense of belief in our students that would help them believe in themselves too.
The lack of acceptance amongst their peers who are also young children or teenagers can become a big part of someone’s life. Learning disabilities make it harder for children to “fit in” and therefore, lead to them being “othered” and consequently bullied or teased by their peers. This can result in long term confidence loss and negative behaviour. Social awkwardness is a facet of learning disorders that can be treated and repaired. EmpowerKidz emphasizes on the importance of authority figures such as teachers and parents to reflect a positive attitude centering change around children