It is becoming increasingly evident that some children’s struggles are not limited to anxiety. Some anxious youth also experience neurological problems such as attention deficit issues, learning weaknesses or sensory integration dysfunction (under- or oversensitivity to taste, touch, smell, noise or light). The combination of anxiety and neurological problems makes it more likely that children may:
• misperceive other’s intentions,
• misinterpret other’s remarks,
• misunderstand social cues,
• believe that nothing is their fault,
• complain of constant fatigue or
• explode without notice.
Depending on the severity and intensity of these behaviors, the long-term consequences can range from mild to significant. When children are young and vary widely in social perceptual skills, these behaviors may have minimal impact on social relationships. But, as children begin to approach the preteen and teenage years, social relationships become more complicated and “fitting in” becomes more important.
Continued struggles in the above areas may result in children becoming socially vulnerable or prone to neglect or even rejection by their peers. For these children, increased intervention in this area is crucial. The CADC recently began offering Social Perception Training (SPT) Groups. With increased understanding of various social contexts, children will ultimately become more socially confident and competent.