Successful Strategies: Social Skills Deficits

Social Skills Deficits in Students

Research demonstrates that individuals with learning disabilities can be less accepted by their peers because they may interact in ways that seem awkward in social situations.

As teachers, our goal is to help students achieve an appropriate degree of social skills or discrete learned behaviors to help them establish an ongoing social interaction.


Teaching appropriate interactions can involve modeling, role playing, scripting and social narratives. For students to learn and be able to generalize appropriate interactions requires a lot of practice and feedback.

Social skills may impact a student with a disability more than the disability itself. Learn the social deficits and challenges associated with disabilities as well as strategies to support social skill development. A variety of professionals share their success strategies so readers (parents, teachers, counselors, psychologists, and others working in the disability field) can incorporate them into their professional “toolbox” and practice.

Included are strategies from Special Educators, School Counselors, Licensed Professional Counselors, an Occupational Therapist, and a Psychologist. Current issues such as bullying are explored in addition to ways that professionals and universities should be involved in supporting social skills of students with disabilities. A special section on working with parents includes a handout with strategies parents can use while social skills are developing in their child.