Further Information

The social interaction skills of the majority of peers are refined during adolescence. The main issues for pupils with social communication needs at Key Stages 3 and 4 are:

Area of Difficulty:The student may:
Conversational Skills
  • Find it difficult to take turns appropriately and may talk over others
  • Be unable to vary their language style according to their situations, for example knowing they would need to talk to their head teacher differently than they talk to their friend
  • Show little awareness of what the listener is interested in and talk about the same topic despite little interest from others
  • Have little understanding of facial expressions and tone of voice of others during conversation.
Social Understanding
  • Struggle to adapt communication skills according to the social context
  • Not use their voice effectively such as the correct volume, speed intonation etc
  • Not understand the rules or social requirement
  • Be unaware of idioms/metaphors/sarcasm and can find these very hard to understand
  • Take things literally and struggle to understand jokes
  • Have difficulty generalising and the student does not always realise you can make similar comments in different situations
  • Struggle to interpret the tone of voice, leading to confusion and distress
  • Have difficulty forming and maintaining relationships/friendships with others with both adults and peers
  • Tend to spend time alone rather than with the other students
Non Verbal Skills
  • Have difficulty maintaining eye contact with another person when speaking or listening
  • Be unaware of the correct distance from their conversational partner, standing too close or too far away
  • Not recognise that emotions can be expressed through behaviours as well as words
  • Not express their own emotions appropriately
  • Not recognise the needs of others
  • Have difficulty forming friendships


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Last updated: 22 October 2015

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