The past year has been most notably a year without social interactions. The many benefits of SEL (Social Emotional Learning) have definitely proved themselves this year, especially amongst our students with disabilities. We have all been forced to adjust our routines and daily interactions to phone calls and online meetings. But what about those who have only begun to learn how to socialize? What do this year’s adjustments, followed by a slow reintroduction (or in some cases an expeditious revival) of school services? For those who already struggled with social situations, this year can easily rattle a few nerves.
Social anxiety or just general difficulty in social situations can come from a few different traits. Some usually chalk kids up as either shy or outgoing (i.e., introvert/extrovert). However, there is a whole spectrum of characteristics that people fail to see. For example, someone can be seen as a socially outgoing person who is caring, generous, and easy to get along with. But what they don’t see is that this person could be suffering from boundary issues, and being around people is overwhelming and stressful due to their urge to please everyone.
Another example is the kid who keeps to themselves and can be very involved in their interests and hobbies but rarely speaks to others. They may be seen as an introvert, but if you engage them in conversation about the things they like, all of a sudden, you can’t get them to be quiet! You see them light up and talk on and on, and all of a sudden, that shy kid is the most talkative person you have ever met.
It seems a bit cliché to say don’t judge a book by its cover, but it is true! Our observations deceive us because we’ve only scratched the surface of what we think we know about someone. Sometimes kids even put on a different persona to match what is socially acceptable without revealing who they are inside. Luckily there is a new and unique tool that helps you really see the person hiding in plain sight.
COSEC for Kids (Cognitive Orientation & Social-Emotional Competency) is a unique personal aptitude tool developed specifically for kids under 13 years of age that follows the PCB Model. The PCB Model uses the individual’s view of the world (perception), how they process that information (conception), and how the relationship between the two influences an individual’s characteristics, traits, and preferences (behavior). This tool is formulated to give an in-depth understanding of how and why children behave as they do by taking a closer look at how they process information and form preferences and behaviors in response. So, how does this relate to social anxiety? COSEC can identify personal preferences and traits as well as the subsequent behavior. It can paint a picture of how a student behaves in social situations and what is happening internally. They could be calm and collected on the outside but struggle on the inside with mental burnout. They may need social interaction to recharge and refresh themselves but struggle to interact with others.
COSEC for Kids is a beneficial tool that can give parents and educators an idea of students’ strengths and challenges regarding social situations. With this tool, we hope to help understand students better, develop strategies and solutions to deal with challenges, and tap into their strengths to help them reach their fullest potential.