The Sting of Social Skills

Alex Anlicker / Foter.com / CC BY-SA
Do I agree with the definition of "good social skills"? After attending the annual Children's Autism Services of Edmonton conference earlier this month, I'm not so sure. Renee Attaway from Michelle Garcia Winner's team started the day long session with a description of good social skills. "The ability to adapt your behavior effectively based on the situation and what you know about the people in the situation for them to react and respond to you in the manner you had hoped." (italics mine)
I feel uneasy with the last phrase. Is the ultimate goal of using social skills essentially to get what I want? Where does genuine concern for others fit in this description?
Attaway mentioned the preteen girl who rises to the position of "Queen Bee" in the classroom as a master of social skills. My experience of queen bees, both as a student and now as a parent, is not positive. Excluding others. Overt putdowns. Yet always surrounded by other girls who choose to be her friend by copying her exclusions and putdowns. I've seen the queen bee become the main reason a student with Autism differences gets sent to social skills group. Shouldn't the queen bee get sent to bullying awareness?
I appreciate the Social Thinking vocabulary and actively use it in ASDreams. Winner's book Social Behavior Mapping is on my list of recommended resources. However I'd like to see a working definition of social skills that doesn't sound like a synonym for manipulation.
What is important to you in a definition of social skills?

2 comments:

  1. I have to agree with you. A sales person has the same agenda. The social skills this format teaches "get what you want from the person by manipulation". Thanks to a Pinterest Board I found your site. Thanks for the insight and the courage to share it.

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  2. I'm glad you found my site and that this post affirmed your experience. I continue to explore ways to link personal choices with natural consequences. I think love is the only motivator stronger than self interest.

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