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At a Glance: 5 Ways Social Challenges Can Play Out at Recess

By Erica Patino

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For some kids, recess is the highlight of the school day. It’s a chance to play, exercise and have fun with friends. But recess can be socially hard for kids with learning and attention issues.

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At a Glance: 5 Ways Social Issues Play Out at Recess

Some kids might consider recess a fun break—a piece of cake compared to the rest of the school day. But for kids who struggle socially, it can be a tough environment to navigate. Here are some examples of what could happen.

Being Excluded
How it might look:
A group of kids decides to play a game of tag, but your child isn’t invited to join them.
Why it might happen:
Games require following directions. This can be hard for some kids with learning and attention issues. Also, if your child has a meltdown when she loses, other kids might stop inviting her to play.

Getting Teased
How it might look:
Your child stares at another child at recess. He says, “What, do you like me or something?”
Why it might happen:
Kids with learning and attention issues may have trouble understanding nonverbal communication or social cues. Kids who are doing poorly in school might be teased, too.

Feeling Isolated
How it might look:
Your child isn’t sure what she’s supposed to do during recess. So she ends up playing by herself.
Why it might happen:
Recess is often unstructured. The social rules of playing with others can be hard to understand. Some kids with learning and attention issues might withdraw because of low self-esteem.
Getting Overstimulated

How it might look:
Your child is riled up during a game and runs too fast, then falls down and skins her knees.
Why it might happen:
Kids who are hyperactive or prone to sensory overload can feel disorganized during recess due to all the noise and action.
Avoiding Conversation With Others
How it might look:
Your child wants to play kickball with other kids but doesn’t know how to approach the group.
Why it might happen:
Kids with learning and attention issues can have trouble with language skills or may have low self-esteem. Both can make it hard to start conversations or join in.
Graphic of 5 Ways Your Child's Social Challenges Can Play Out at Recess
Graphic of 5 Ways Your Child's Social Challenges Can Play Out at Recess

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About the Author

Portrait of Erica Patino

Erica Patino

Erica Patino is an online writer and editor who specializes in health and wellness content.

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Reviewed by Laura Tagliareni, Ph.D. Mar 24, 2014 Mar 24, 2014

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