If your child has difficulty making or keeping friends, or he/she displays inappropriate reactions to other individuals and/or social situations, chances are he/she has social skills issues.
Research shows us that social skills needed for social competence include physical factors such as eye contact, the ability to read body language and/or posture, social responsiveness such as sharing, giving and interactional skills such as initiating and maintaining conversation, sustained play.
Many children with learning disabilities and/or AD(H)D have very poor social skills, so your child is certainly not alone.
How may this impact my child?We all know the importance of having friends in life, particularly while growing-up.
If your child lacks in social skills, he/she may become socially isolated because others have labeled them negatively.
For instance, you may find your child spending the majority of his/her time alone, playing computer games, watching television and never invited to birthday parties or other social events.
Your child then becomes more vulnerable when placed in social situations and may become victimized by social pressures put upon him/her.
How may Camp Kirk help my child attain social skills?Simply put, by living with his/her counsellors and cabin mates, in time, your child will learn how to communicate, negotiate, compromise and problem solve effectively.
This is an ongoing process as situations arise in day-to-day living at camp.
If an altercation takes place between peers, the group is helped to discuss what happened, what could be done differently and what might the role and responsibilities of each cabin member be to facilitate the changes.
Another therapeutic aspect of Camp Kirk...your child's emotional safetyAlthough there are many therapeutic aspects to camp, the two main ingredients of the therapeutic experience are, the teaching of coping strategies as mentioned before and the provision of emotional safety.
Without these two things, the structure, the routine, explicit instruction, the excellent programming would not have nearly the impact that they do.
When your child is constantly met with challenges, frustration and failure, he/she learns to defend him or herself against the painful feelings that these bring and learn to constantly be on the look out for new hurts to avoid.
This means that your child will not risk placing him or herself in any situations that might carry with it the possibility of failure, of being ridiculed by adults or peers or accused of not trying hard enough.
At Camp Kirk, emotional safety is a priority.
Nobody is allowed to ridicule, bully scapegoat or hurt another child.
Our staff is trained to identify strengths no matter how small and help each child take the steps they need in order to build on those strengths.
Encouragement is gentle but persistent and there is constant belief that your child can be successful in taking risks and learning.