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Social Anxiety and Social Skill Competencies

Feb 09, 2012 -- 5:57 pm
From the Autism Asperger's Digest: by Michelle Garcia Winner, CCC-SLP
Autism Asperger’s Digest | November/December 2011

Social skills challenges don’t stand alone. Our social skills are social behaviors that impact how others think and feel. In turn, how people respond to us affects how we think and feel. Many students with higher-level social learning challenges are aware they do not learn as easily as do their peers, and that others are not as accepting of them as they would like. This awareness impacts how they feel about themselves. The research is clear that anxiety and depression often comingle in individuals with ASD and ADHD, which adds extra variables when designing a treatment program for these individuals.

In our culture certain issues, such as social anxiety and depression, are usually handled by our mental health systems and professionals such as psychiatrists and psychologists. Prescription medication and/or cognitive behavior therapy are often the main treatment choices to help lessen the symptoms. It may be time that we stop to reconsider our perceptions about social anxiety and which professionals are solely “responsible” for treatment. From my experience working with hundreds of individuals with varying levels of social learning problems, anxiety and depression may be the direct result of an individual’s social learning challenges. This expanded line of thinking means those of us who teach social skills and social thinking also need awareness of treatment concepts related to anxiety.
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