Getting Social and Special Needs Education | Harbor School
 

Getting Social and Special Needs Education

Special Needs Education

Our network of special education schools prepares students for workplace success by introducing soft skills at an early age. Often referred to as “skills to pay the bills”, soft skills are everyday interpersonal skills that job seekers need to succeed on the job. These include enthusiasm and attitude, teamwork, networking, problem solving and critical thinking, and professionalism.

One of those soft skills is communication, which is necessary in most aspects of life, including social skills. No one ever said that popularity is a requirement for receiving a paycheck. Getting along with others and the ability to maintain satisfying relationships, however, go a long way toward workplace success.

Learning how to get along with others and maintain relationships is called socialization. This training is part of everything we do. This building upon soft skills is crucial to the student when they transition into a potential adult system of care program, such as the ones offered at all three of RKS Associates PrimeTime Center locations in New Jersey. Some of the social skills topics covered in daily lessons include making eye contact, good manners, active listening, interpersonal skills and social problem-solving.

The Connection between Autism & Social Skills

Social dysfunction is one of the defining characteristics of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It is typical to assume this is an aversion to personal interaction but it can also include monopolizing conversations on a single topic that only the person speaking seems to be interested in. It can be almost unnoticeable in high-functioning autistic individuals. Lower functioning individuals, however, almost always have immediate and obvious difficulties.

The basic elements of ASD include delays and difficulty in acquiring verbal communication skills. Another common problem is an inability to read non-verbal communication cues. Repetitive or obsessive behaviors and insistence on an adherence to a fixed routine are both common. From the inside out, our children face enough difficulty but their environment can also be challenging due to overwhelming sensory input. This combination constitutes a constant struggle for ASD individuals to acquire basic social skills.

Dealing with Social Skills Issues

Most individuals with ASD badly want to interact with others. Despite appearances to the contrary. It is important to keep that in mind. They simply lack the skillset. Special needs educators work diligently to provide training in such skills while simultaneously helping them cope with the frustration that tends to arise. This frustration can take the form of outbursts or tantrums. Some on the spectrum express themselves inappropriately in social contexts due to the inability to cope with the frustration.

For those whom exhibit more of a lack of awareness of others, social dysfunction takes the form of monopolizing conversations, being unable or unwilling to converse outside particular topic areas, or generally shutting out all external stimuli. This can be offensive or make others uncomfortable. Yet, the individual is equally unaware of their communication issues.

It goes without saying that removing individuals entirely from social environments can’t be effective when teaching socialization. This is where community-based instruction comes in. Students gain community-based work experience at offices, retail stores, chain stores, restaurants and libraries. Social events, such as the beach volleyball game between Harbor School and Colts Neck High School, are also tremendously helpful.

Individuals with autism are sometimes described as “in their own little world.” They’re certainly not the only ones. Socialization is about teaching those “worlds” to get along, in order to make this one a little better.

Anne Gunteski-Principle Harbor School, Eatontown, NJ

Harbor School a private special education school in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Our mission at Harbor School is to help all of our special needs students with learning, social, language, behavioral, and other disabilities. Our highly skilled staff are committed daily to helping each student reach their full potential.

We would be more than happy to discuss your child's specific needs and challenges, so please call us at 732.544.9394, or request a tour at Harbor School in Eatontown, NJ. We are located just minutes off of the Garden State Parkway at exit 105 and conveniently located off of Route 35 and Route 36 in Monmouth County, NJ.

Anne Gunteski, 
Principal-Harbor School, Eatontown, NJ