Social Skills Alleviate At-Risk Behavior

Course excerpt from Improving Social Skills in Children & Adolescents

Improving Social Skills in Children & AdolescentsChildren with social deficits are more likely to have behavioral problems (Leonard et al., 2011). Speech-language pathologists play a crucial role in supporting parents and teachers with the design and implementation of communication intervention programs. Many times educators will overlook the underlying language problems of children and focus more on academic, social, and behavioral problems than on inadequate communication skills. Since researchers have addressed the connection between language and social skills and between language and emotional and behavioral problems, educators and speech-language pathologists working in school systems need to continue to be sensitive to the interweaving of these areas. Furthermore, speech-language pathologists need to be particularly alert to the under-identification of children with social deficits. A focus needs to be placed on other educational professionals in the appropriate referral of students with possible undiagnosed language challenges (Sigafoos et al., 2004).

Well-developed social skills can also mitigate the link between juvenile delinquency and learning disabilities. According to Mallett (2014), “Adolescents becoming formally involved with a juvenile court because of school-related behavior and discipline problems is a phenomenon known as the school-to-prison pipeline. Adolescents with learning disabilities are disproportionately represented within this pipeline.” Mallett’s study reviewed the outcomes for a population of youthful offenders in two juvenile courts in the Midwest, and it was found that “youthful offenders with learning disabilities, when compared with nondisabled youthful offenders, were more likely to be suspended from school, were adjudicated delinquent at younger ages, and were more frequently held in detention centers.”

Teens with learning disabilities are more likely to be convicted of their crimes because they are unable to plan and execute their actions. They also receive harsher court sentences because they have a harder time navigating the court systems. They may miss appointments with their attorneys and not understand court etiquette (Lavoie, 2005 p. xxviii). Adolescents and teens that can compensate for their inferior learning skills with adequate social skills are better positioned to avoid the school-too-prison pipeline.

Improving Social Skills in Children & AdolescentsImproving Social Skills in Children & Adolescents is a 4-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that discusses the social skills children and adolescents will need to develop to be successful in school and beyond. It will demonstrate the challenges and difficulties that arise from a deficit of these crucial skills, as well as the benefits and advantages that can come about with well-developed social skills. This course will also provide practical tools that teachers and therapists can employ to guide children to overcome their difficulties in the social realm and gain social competence. While there are hundreds of important social skills for students to learn, we can organize them into skill areas to make it easier to identify and determine appropriate interventions. This course is divided into 10 chapters, each detailing various aspects of social skills that children, teens, and adults must master to have normative, healthy relationships with the people they encounter every day. This course provides tools and suggestions that, with practice and support, can assist them in managing their social skills deficits to function in society and nurture relationships with the peers and adults in their lives. Course #40-40 | 2016 | 62 pages | 35 posttest questions

This online course provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. After enrolling, click on My Account and scroll down to My Active Courses. From here you’ll see links to download/print the course materials and take the CE test (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document). Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. Click here to learn more.

About the Authors:

Adina Soclof, MS, CCC-SLP, a certified Speech-Language Pathologist, received her master’s degree from Hunter College in New York in Communication Sciences. She is the Director of Parent Outreach for A+ Learning and Development Centers facilitating “How to Talk so Kids will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk” workshops as well as workshops based on “Siblings Without Rivalry.” Adina is the founder of, a division of A+ Learning and Development Centers. You can reach her and check out her website at

Leo Christie, PhD, LMFT, is a Florida-licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy from Florida State University. Past President of the Florida Council on Family Relations, Dr. Christie is currently CEO of Professional Development Resources, a nonprofit corporation whose mission is to deliver continuing education credit courses to healthcare professionals throughout the United States. He has more than 20 years’ experience in private practice with a specialty in child behavior disorders and as an instructor for over 500 live continuing education seminars for healthcare professionals.

CE Information:

Professional Development Resources is approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).