Social skills training refers to a series of practices that apply a behavioral approach to teaching children age-appropriate social skills and competencies, including communication, problem solving, decision making, self-management, and peer relations. The WWC found that social skills training had positive effects on social-emotional development and behavior for children with disabilities in early education settings, but no discernible effects on children’s cognition. Existing studies tend to be small, and additional research is needed to identify effective programs, as there are a variety of social skills training approaches and curricula that can be used in different settings. As one example, the Taking Part curriculum was effective in improving the social-emotional development of children with developmental delays among a sample of 38 children. However, all social skills programs are intended to promote positive interactions among children and between children and their teachers, through modeling, role-playing, specific instruction, and classroom reinforcement of social skills.
The framework's recommendations are based on syntheses of existing research. Please see the framework report for a list of works cited.