ZocdocAnswersAntisocial Behavior - How does one help a child who seems uninterested in interacting with other children?

Question

Antisocial Behavior - How does one help a child who seems uninterested in interacting with other children?

How can I help a child who seems to have to interest in interacting with other children? I am a 3rd grade teacher and I don't want to pathologize every different child, but one of my students seems so far outside the social world that he is bound to run into trouble later in life.

Answer

This an important issue. There are many causes of what you are calling antisocial behavior in young children. Some of these do require medical intervention. Of course, the parents of the child must be involved at every step. Doctors who specialize in these issues include pediatricians and child psychiatrists. A common cause of 'antisocial behavior' is simply stress in the home life, such as a recent divorce or death in the family, a move to a new town or school, and other such things. Some children have learning disabilities or attention deficit disorders which make them feel awkward and out of place. Additionally, some children have disorders on the autism spectrum which makes their interaction with others more difficult. The best role for the teacher is to act as an advocate for the child. This can include scheduling a meeting with parents to discuss your honest concerns and observation. It will be important for you to be able to give specific examples of the behavior which concerns you. Sometimes, especially if children have learning disabilities, attention deficit, or if their native language is not English, they may benefit from an individualized education plan, which is something you could suggest to the parents. As always, the care of the child must involve primarily the parents and, as they see fit, a referral to their pediatrician or child psychiatrist.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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