Social and Emotional Development
Programs to accelerate maturation of social-emotional skills
Social skills are difficult to master, period. For struggling learners they are especially challenging due to all of the extra processing and work required just to follow a conversation, let alone think of the appropriate response.
It’s Not Just Social Skills
Social and emotional development is more than just social skills. It describes how children start to understand who they are, what they are feeling and what to expect when interacting with others. Being able to:
- Form and sustain positive relationships.
- Experience, manage and express emotions.
- Explore and engage with the environment.
There has been a lot written about the impact of social media on the development social-emotional skills for young people, the preference for phone alone-time instead of human interaction. The Covid 19-related school disruptions have only added to this trend. Social skills develop with practice, interactions. The loss of time at school for some children – especially elementary-age children with learning delays – will take a long time to come back from.
Everybody wants their child to do well socially, to have friends. And we know, navigating social interactions is an important life skill. The lack of human interaction for children who struggle with language processing, however, has more devastating impacts. Emotional wellbeing and relationships really are foundational learning skills that impact:
- inter-personal skills
Positive social and emotional development of course also impacts empathy, the ability to develop meaningful and lasting friendships and partnerships, and a sense of importance and value to those around him/her. As a child matures, this influences all other areas of development. This is why Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) has become such an area of focus for educators.
How Processing Delays Impact Social Skills
Much of social and emotional development comes down to language, and language processing. If your child’s brain is working hard to just hear and understand (process) what their friends are saying:
- Social cues are missed
- Deeper meanings are not explored
- Body language is not read
- Humor is not appreciated
- Thinking of a response is delayed
All of this slows the development of social skills and emotional development.
Furthermore, there’s a reflective aspect to social and emotional development. There’s a need to be able to observe and reflect on non-language signals in real-time. A mind that is consumed with just understanding the literal conversation has no room for this kind of reflection.
Hence, many children with learning delays struggle socially and emotionally as well. More on the learning skill social confidence connection here.
Fast ForWord For SEL
Fast ForWord works directly on processing efficiency, automating the processing of language, effectively clearing the mind to focus on social signals, self-awareness, etc. Fast ForWord exercises are the equivalent of hundreds of conversational turns, much needed language listening practice.
The first result is that faster processing essentially slows conversations down, making the world more manageable for the struggling learner.
From there, once listening is more automatic, the brain starts to observe and learn from social situations. Social and emotional growth can accelerate.
Improved conversational skills
Conversation happens at lightning speed with content on many levels. If a child has to concentrate hard just to hear what friends are saying, especially in noisy playgrounds or school hallways, there is very little time to process and think about the meaning or nuances of the conversation, and oftentimes, no time to respond.
Improvements in processing efficiency from Fast ForWord help free up thinking space to absorb conversations in real time, to understand the meaning and the nuances. This makes it easier for your child to participate in a meaningful way that fits the themes of the conversation. This can help a child do better in social situations, and develop friendships in a way that is not possible when listening skills are impaired.
Improved learning confidence
One of the first changes parents report is an uptick in confidence. This comes from improved processing efficiency. By automating listening skills, children find that they are able to keep up, they can take in what their teacher or parent says with far less effort, less exhaustion. It’s as if everyone around your child is now talking more slowly and more clearly.
Imagine the impact that more efficient listening can have. It can be life changing, boosting confidence in a profound way because now your child is able to navigate day-to-day life more comfortably and because now your child finds his day job, learning and reading, is getting a bit easier.
Fast ForWord helps confidence in two other ways also:
- Improved reading skills helps children feel better about themselves. It helps them meet their parents’ and teachers’ expectations, and it helps them keep up with their peers.
- The Fast ForWord exercises are adaptive, meaning that children are able to work without getting into difficulty. Many students tell their parents they are “good at Gemm Learning,” a success in the academic world that bolsters confidence.
Improvements in confidence are of course self-fulfilling. Improved confidence leads to a more proactive and lean in attitude to learning, a willingness to try new things and more resilience if something is not understood right away. All of this leads to better educational outcomes and more confidence.
Accelerated Social and Emotional Development
Our families often tell us about improvements in their child’s emotional wellbeing as a result of Fast ForWord. Learning is a child’s job, and so gains in learning confidence permeate all aspects of a child’s life. The extra time afforded by efficient processing from Fast ForWord allows for all kinds of growth. – executive function (planning and organizing) as well as emotional.
“Gemm Learning is the first to succeed, and it is making a world of difference. My son’s confidence has grown so much, he’s making more friends and having a better social life. He’s willing to tackle things that are challenging and is better behaved at home and at school, so much so that my husband asks if this is the same kid or if someone switched him with a look alike! His teacher asked what extra stuff he is doing because she as she said, there are some huge changes taking place.”
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