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The ADHD Book of Lists: A Practical Guide for Helping Children and Teens with Attention Deficit Disorders, 2nd Edition by Sandra F. Rief

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2.17 ADHD and Social Skills Interventions

Children and teens with ADHD frequently have difficulty with peer relationships, which can be a source of great pain and low self-esteem for the child and family. Although usually aware of the social skills they should exhibit, children with ADHD often struggle applying those skills. Because of their developmental delay in self-regulation, it is common for children and teens with ADHD to behave immaturely and display social skills more typical of a younger child.

  • Common struggles of children and teens with ADHD that negatively affect their interactions and social acceptance are as follows:
    • Poor self-control and inhibition—causing difficulties with taking turns, sharing, saying something impulsively that is hurtful or inappropriate
    • Poor social problem-solving skills and over-reactivity—being easily provoked to fighting, arguing, name calling, and inappropriate means of resolving conflicts
    • Poor self-awareness and underdeveloped sense of the future—being unaware of their behaviors and how they affect others and not considering the consequences of their actions
    • Difficulty controlling or regulating their emotions, noise level, and activity level
    • Poor communication skills (such as listening to others and refraining from interrupting)
  • There are different reasons for social skills challenges. It could be that the child lacks knowledge and has not yet acquired the skill, in which case instruction is necessary to teach the skill. Other times the ...

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