Social Skills Club meets at the Robert J. Parks Library | Entertainment

OSCODA – Some people are naturally talented and learn skills with minimal effort. In any profession, whether it’s an electrician or a basketball player, you can find natural people who seem just right for the job.

For others, these skills are not so easy and they need extra coaching to become proficient.

As with job skills, some people are also naturally socially competent, while others may need coaching in personal and interpersonal skills.

To help kids ages 8-12 who need to work on their social skills, the first Social Skills Club will be held June 17 at 2 p.m. at the Robert J. Parks Library in Oscoda.

The club will focus on social cues, problem solving, reading body language and appropriately sharing emotions with others.

The best part is that the session is free and meets regularly once a week every Friday, now through August.

Robin Savage, Director of the Library, will personally lead the course, as she has a Masters in Behavioral Therapy and is a former Certified Behavioral Therapist.

“My whole heart is in it,” she said. “I think one of my biggest goals when working with children is to make sure they are not left behind. Sometimes I have witnessed this in my community and I have felt the need.”

Children who attend tend to be on the autism spectrum or other co-morbidities like ADHD or Down syndrome.

This class is for children whose conditions would create a bit of difficulty for a child to learn social cues.

For many parents who have never personally struggled with learning social cues, Savage said it can be a difficult experience trying to put themselves in their child’s shoes.

“Kids don’t always come with a textbook. It’s helpful for parents who don’t know how to teach those basic social skills that didn’t need to be taught. If parents aren’t neurotypical, they don’t never had to learn not to pick their noses in public or pass gas in public.”

Skills are not only preventative to prevent missteps. Savage said the workshop will also focus on practicing empathy; yes, some people need to learn what empathy is and how to show it to others. Empathy is a skill to be developed like any other.

For example, if someone falls on the playground, maybe a child can laugh.

“But we’re going to teach a kid that we’re not going to laugh and go help them and see if they’re okay,” Savage said.

Other topics will cover proper eye contact, how to hold a conversation, and other “unspoken rules” that aren’t always written down but are simply taken for granted by most people in mainstream society.

To participate in the Social Skills Club, the library asks participants to call ahead at 989-739-9581 just to let them know in advance how many people are coming.

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