A social skills assessment looks at a person’s ability to have a healthy and mutually beneficial interaction with his or her peers. This evaluation of social and cognitive development levels provides helpful information for forming
and working toward personal development.
An assessment of social skills may come from a teacher or clinician, though parents may also incorporate assessments and
goal planning strategies
These are especially helpful with children, and those with cognitive and learning disabilities, as they address the core skills needed for success in all areas of life: work, relationships, home management, and personal wellness.
An assessment looks at a variety of factors and skill sets to achieve a well-rounded evaluation of a person’s needs and development level. Skill sets for assessment may include:
Communication: Be it verbal or written communication, it determines the person’s ability to communicate their thoughts, feelings,
and intentions, as well as their ability to actively listen to input from others. Their non-verbal communication, such as body language, may indicate difficulties in other areas, such as aggression or
Social Interactions: Effective communication is the foundation to positive interactions, but varying levels of communication skills will influence a person’s success in social relationships. An assessment may look at a person’s communication style, such as assertive or passive-aggressive, and determine their ability to empathize, negotiate and share with others.
: An inability to manage stress can affect a
and social relationships, which is why it’s important to assess their coping skills. A clinical assessment may also look for underlying sources of stress, such as problems at home or in relationships.
Although these assessments specifically look for skill deficits for purposes of helping a person improve their social skills, they also identify the person’s strengths and personal resources.
Teachers and clinicians use their own listening and observation skills to assess the
of others, though this is only one method of assessment. They may do this during one-on-one meetings with the person or by watching him or her interact with others in various settings. Clinical tools, such as test questionnaires, provide standardized assessments and measurable outcomes, which are especially helpful in goal planning and rehabilitation.
It’s important that children (and adults) share their thoughts and observations on their own social skills with the teacher or clinician, too, because they often have additional insight on the difficulties they face with these skill sets.
A goal plan based on assessment information will focus on the exact areas a person must work on, and will focus on both strengths and weaknesses.
For example, if someone is creative but has difficulty managing stress,
a short-term goal
is to attend art therapy once weekly. Rewards encourage goal achievement, and the goals must be measurable for the purpose of subsequent evaluations. A social skills assessment is only the first step, as
and goal achievement are the sources of personal development.
Getting such an assessment can help put you on the right path to development in areas you may have weaknesses in, and help you be even stronger in areas where you have a solid grounding.