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Developing social skills

Alex Kelly (Alex Kelly Ltd, Romsey, UK)

Tizard Learning Disability Review

ISSN: 1359-5474

Article publication date: 3 July 2017




The purpose of this paper is to discuss the different features of social skills and outline a hierarchy of social skills model.


This paper draws on clinical work over 25 years and presents the results of research using a hierarchical approach to developing social skills.


Social skills interventions delivered according to a hierarchy of social skills (self-awareness and self-esteem; body language; conversational skills; friendship skills; assertiveness) are effective in improving social skills.

Practical implications

Effective assessment should determine which skills to start with. Intervention should involve the environment, peers and a variety of direct instructional approaches to maximise the potential for success and generalisation into everyday life.


This paper provides an overview of social skills and social competence, stresses the importance of good assessment to target the start point for intervention and emphasises the need to involve others to maximise success and generalisation.



Kelly, A. (2017), "Developing social skills", Tizard Learning Disability Review, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 159-163.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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