Dyadic Coaching help for Social interaction

What is Dyadic Coaching, and how would it help a child with ADHD improve their social skills?


By Fatima Malik

Children with ADHD struggle with social interactions, making friends and keeping friends because they lack social skills. Why do they lack these skills?

Because ADHD affects the brain’s executive functioning, its executive control manages their ability to wait their turn, avoid getting distracted, direct their actions, control their emotions, and use their working memory to respond in social settings. 

Compared to peers, the brain’s executive functions of children with ADHD can be delayed up to 30%.

Symptoms of ADHD in social interactions can include:


Kids with ADHD may have trouble listening to others, as they may be distracted by sounds or noises. During the conversation, they miss pieces of information and other social cues. Sometimes they become overwhelmed and withdrawn. 


When in a conversation, they may frequently interrupt and share scattered thoughts. Sometimes they may be hyper-focused on a topic and talk rapidly. 


In social interactions, they may display goofy behaviour or initiate conversations at inappropriate times. Sometimes, without intending to, they may show aggression and enter another’s personal space.

These symptoms put them in an awkward position in social gatherings, discouraging them from being social. Many children with ADHD avoid getting into social situations because their past experiences have taught them that peers may reject them due to their lack of social skills.

Children with ADHD have trouble picking up on social cues, listening and sharing. They often become distracted or bored of the conversation altogether. Other times, these children end up dominating the conversation, and peers view that as being uninterested and unkind. 

These experiences lead to peers avoiding children with ADHD, decreasing their confidence and making them feel inadequate. Over time, they begin to have an adverse emotional reaction to social interactions/situations/gatherings.

This is where Dyadic Coaching comes into play.


Dyadic: [ dahy-ad-ik ] adjective: of or consisting of a dyad; being a group of two.

Dyadic Coaching: 

By paring a child with another of the same age, preferences, abilities and skills, they can better understand social interactions and learn how to build and maintain relationships. A professional coach monitors and guides these interactions to help kids learn social cues, etiquette, and language.

As children enter adolescence, they develop an increased need for peer interactions and heightened sensitivity to social stimuli. Through repeated social interactions, friendships form, which teach them how to work in a group, solve problems, recognize others’ points of view/opinions, manage conflict, and accept diverse groups.

These sessions will, in turn, help these kids go into adulthood equipped with the ability to assess social interactions properly and behave accordingly. Dyadic coaching also prepares them and gives them the skills to build lasting relationships. 

As parents, our goals usually revolve around preparing our kids for the real world. Kids with ADHD need a little more preparation. This means their parents need more hands-on help, which we provide to parents at Positive Kids.

At Positive Kids, we believe in a holistic approach to treating ADHD, which is why Dyadic coaching is a big part of our LEPS Model (treatment plan).


Positive Kids
Author: Positive Kids

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