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  • Melissa Santander

Social Skills Therapy for Kids and Teens

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

Navigating Social Success: Exploring Social Skills Therapy for Kids and Teens in Speech Therapy

Unlocking Social Success: Understanding Social Skills Therapy in Pediatric Speech-Language Therapy

Communication extends far beyond words; it encompasses the intricate art of social interaction. For children and teenagers, mastering social skills is a critical aspect of their growth and development. Social skills therapy within pediatric speech-language therapy plays a pivotal role in shaping a child’s ability to interact, connect, and communicate effectively in various social settings.

What is Social Skills Therapy in Pediatric Speech-Language Therapy?

Social skills therapy focuses on helping children develop the essential abilities to interact, communicate, and relate to others in meaningful ways. It is a specialized area within pediatric speech-language therapy that aims to improve a child's social communication by targeting specific skills necessary for successful social interactions and friendships.

Key Components of Social Skills Therapy:

  1. Pragmatic Language Skills: Teaching children how to use language appropriately in different social situations, such as greetings, conversational turn-taking, understanding non-verbal cues, and expressing emotions effectively.

  2. Conversational Skills: Developing skills in initiating, maintaining, and ending conversations, as well as active listening, staying on topic, and understanding the social rules of communication.

  3. Non-Verbal Communication: Helping children interpret and use body language, gestures, facial expressions, and tone of voice to convey and understand social messages.

  4. Understanding Emotions and Social Cues: Teaching children to recognize and respond to emotions and social cues, fostering empathy and understanding of others' perspectives.

  5. Social Problem-Solving and Conflict Resolution: Equipping children with strategies to resolve conflicts, understand different points of view, and navigate social challenges.

Why Is Social Skills Therapy Important?

Social skills are the foundation of successful relationships and interactions. For children, developing strong social skills is crucial for school success, making friends, and establishing positive relationships in their personal and academic lives. Social skills therapy enhances a child's ability to navigate social situations with confidence and understanding.

How Does Social Skills Therapy Work?

In pediatric speech-language therapy, social skills therapy often involves interactive and engaging activities. Therapists use play-based scenarios, role-playing, structured social interactions, and direct instruction to help children practice and master these skills in a supportive environment.

The Role of Speech-Language Pathologists in Social Skills Therapy

Pediatric speech-language pathologists are trained professionals who specialize in assessing, diagnosing, and treating social communication challenges in children. They create personalized treatment plans that cater to a child's specific needs, guiding them to develop crucial social skills.

Social Skills Therapy at Eat Speak Breathe

At Eat Speak Breathe Speech Therapy, we seamlessly integrate a blend of widely recognized approaches to enhance social skills therapy:

  • PEERS: Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS) is a evidence-based social skills intervention developed for adolescents and young adults to improve their social interactions and relationships. This structured and research-driven program focuses on teaching concrete social skills through didactic instruction, role-playing, and real-life practice. It covers various areas, including making friends, conversations, handling teasing and bullying, electronic communication, and dating skills, providing practical strategies to enhance social success and relationships.

  • Everyday Speech Social Videos are a collection of educational and engaging video resources designed to support social learning for children. These videos cover a wide range of social skills and scenarios, presented in a child-friendly and accessible format. With relatable, real-life situations and clear demonstrations, these videos aim to teach and reinforce essential social skills, aiding children in understanding and navigating various social interactions in their everyday lives.

  • Michelle Garcia Winner's Social Thinking®, a methodology designed to help individuals—especially those with social learning challenges—develop stronger social awareness and critical thinking skills. Winner's approach focuses on teaching individuals how to interpret and respond to social cues, fostering better understanding of the complexities of social interactions. Through various strategies and frameworks, this approach aims to support individuals in navigating social situations, enhancing social communication, and improving overall social competencies.


Social skills therapy in pediatric speech-language therapy is a transformative resource for children. By empowering them with the tools needed to navigate social interactions successfully, children can thrive in their relationships, academics, and overall well-being.

At Eat Speak Breathe, Melissa is committed to supporting your child's social development. Contact us to learn more about how social skills therapy can benefit your child's communication journey.

Melissa Santander, MS CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist

dba Eat Speak Breathe


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