Understanding ADHD and Social Skills 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can lead to differences in many areas of functioning, but one area that is often ignored is how it affects social skills. Neurodiverse individuals often find social interactions challenging for a variety of reasons. Having a basic understanding of ADHD can help you learn the strategies to support the social development of your loved ones navigating life with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Let’s explore the relationship between ADHD and social skills and how one affects the other. ADHD is a neurodiversity that involves having persistent patterns of impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattention. These key characteristics can affect how a neurodiverse person relates with people in private and in public.  

How ADHD Impacts Social Skills

The impact of ADHD on social skills is not one directional. The core differences of ADHD influence different how people interact with others. Hyperactivity can show up as impulsive behavior, and this can affect their response in different social situations. Inattention can lead to challenges with active listening and cause them to miss some important information or important social cues. 

All these factors contribute to the differences people with ADHD experience when they form and maintain relationships. Think of it this way; neurodiverse individuals see the social world like a puzzle with different pieces that don’t fit perfectly. This is why it is essential for us as educstors and parents to address these differences and develop supports ot help individuals meet their goals. In doing all of these, we shouldn’t fail to acknowledge the strength it takes these  individuals to interact socially. 

Strategies to Support the development of Social Skills in the Neurodiverse Community

For individuals with ADHD, developing the right social skills requires some work and may take time but with the right strategies and supports in palce, we can see monumental growth. 

Structured Social Settings 

More structured settings can benefit people with ADHD because structured environments provide clear routines and guidelines. This makes it easy for neurodiverse people to navigate social interactions more focused and at ease. 

Targeted training

There are social skills curricicula tailored to people with ADHD, and this training can prove helpful. The targeted training will focus on enhancing their active listening skills, learning non-verbal cues, and managing impulsivity in social spaces. Trainings like these empower neurodiverse individuals to go through social climes with more confidence. One organization to look into is Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) – they have supports for both school-age children and adults with ADHD.

Positive Social Reinforcements

Positive social reinforcements play a role in shaping the behavior of neurodiverse individuals in social settings. When you reinforce positive behavior, it motivates them to engage in that type of behavior more often. So, once you notice positive behavior, the best thing to do is reward it, to reinforce it, this helps to boost their self-esteem and encourage them. 

Boosting Self-Awareness 

Self-awareness is an important social skill every individual should continue to grow, but it may take some time for neurodivergent individuals to develop this. One of the easiest ways to help boost self-awareness is to note the things that influence the way they feel and either avoid or reinforce it. Self-awareness involves an understanding of their strengths and challenges, and how to help them navigate them properly. 

Looking for a school that caters to the needs of neurodivergent individuals in Chicago without compromise? City Elementary is your best bet. At City Elementary we recognize that children inhabit a wide spectrum. We teach ADHD children in Chicago social and emotional skill-building together with academic subjects like reading, math, and science. Our students also enjoy constant support, attention, and regulation from expert teachers. Learn more about our admissions here.