Teaching Social Skills to Youth With Mental Health Disorders
Incorporate the teaching of social skills as a component of treatment for children diagnosed with mental health disorders. Therapists, counselors, psychologists, educators, and other practitioners offer positive behavior support in the selection of specific skills that best fit a child’s treatment needs. Provided is a series of charts that list the social skills that caregivers and treatment providers might target for each of more than a hundred DSM-IV-TR diagnoses common for children and adolescents. Skills range from the very basic such as accepting ‘no’ for an answer or following instructions to the more complex such as expressing empathy for others and setting goals.
Research and experience show that children and adolescents who struggle with emotional, behavioral and social problems do improve when they learn pro-social skills. Included is an introduction to the DSM-IV-TR and other mental health assessment and evaluation tools and guidance for how to individualize treatment plans while considering children’s developmental, cultural, behavioral, emotional social, genetic, and biological variables. Examples of treatment plans show how social skills can be integrated into plans across different settings and levels of care – home and school, foster care, residential group home, and psychiatric facility.