Social Skills in Teens after Brain Injury

Social Skills in Teens after Brain Injury

Jeanne Dise-Lewis, Ph.D.

Tip card explains changes in social skills seen in children and adolescents after head injury (TBI). Gives tips to help parents and educators teach social skills at home and in school.

Item: SOSK
Price: $1.00 Market price: $2.50 save 60%
Quantity Add to wish list

Full Description

Brain injury can affect the social skills which become increasingly important as children enter middle and high school. Youths with brain injuries often find it harder to make new friends and keep existing relationships because of unintentional mistakes and social blunders. The brain injury may affect the youth’s ability to control behavior and impulses. The youth may not understand how to interact with peers.

This tip card describes the social changes and losses that parents and educators often see and provides practical strategies to help young and older teens at home and in school.

Pages 8
Year 2009


Jeanne E. Dise-Lewis, Ph.D.

Dr. Dise-Lewis is a child clinical psychologist and Associate Professor at the University of Colorado Denver and Health Sciences Center. She holds a Master’s Degree in Human Learning and Development from the University of Pennsylvania and Doctoral degree in Child Clinical Psychology from the University of Denver.

Dr. Dise-Lewis is the head of the psychology programs in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at The Children’s Hospital, Denver where she has worked since 1990 developing and carrying out many innovative programs of education and service for children who have had acquired brain injuries and their families.


This tip card helps educators, parents, and therapists...

  • understand changes in social skills
  • teach social skills at home and in school

Social Skills in Middle and High School

How Do Social Skills Develop?

  • Before age 3
  • Preschool-age children
  • By the start of elementary school
  • In early adolescence
  • Older adolescents

Social Development after Brain Injury

  • Social changes after brain injury
  • Young teens
  • Older teens
  • What can parents and educators do?

How Can We Teach Social Skills?

  • Tips for parents and educators
  • Tips for teaching social skills in all settings
  • Tips for teaching social skills at school
  • Tips for teaching social skills at home




Sample excerpt. Preview only – please do not copy.

How Can We Teach Social Skills?

Teens who have brain injuries typically do not learn well from the consequences of their misbehavior or mistakes. They usually do the same thing that previously got them in trouble the next time they’re in the same situation. They may be able to say what they should do, but are unable to do it when they’re in the situation. Everyday experiences and strategies that usually work to correct misbehavior (scolding, time out, school suspension, behavior contracts) are unlikely to be effective.

Tips for parents and educators…

Instead of ramping up consequences for misbehavior, try to…

  • Identify the behaviors (not motivations or values) that are the problem
  • List alternative behaviors that would be better
  • Teach your teen those behaviors - what to do
  • Role play using the behavior in private
  • Practice in real life situations
  • Remind your teen what to do in situations that have been a problem before
  • Make sure that an adult or a reliable peer is available in every setting for support