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Picking up on social cues

At a Glance: Trouble Picking Up on Social Cues in Middle School

By The Understood Team

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Middle-schoolers who have trouble picking up on social cues like facial expressions and body language can find it harder to fit in. Here’s what trouble with social cues can look like in middle school.

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At a Glance: Trouble Picking Up on Social Cues in Middle School

If your middle-schooler has trouble picking up on social cues, it could cause difficulty making friends. Here’s what you might be seeing.

Doesn’t Notice How Other People Act
At home: Your child doesn’t notice when you model good behavior, such as holding doors open for others.
At school: Your child’s classmates have stopped playing games at recess to talk. But she keeps asking if anyone wants to play tag.
The issue: Kids who don’t understand social cues usually won’t learn to socialize just by being around others. They need to be taught social skills.

Converses Awkwardly
At home: Your child interrupts conversations with comments that have nothing to do with the topic.
At school: Your child frequently changes the topic when she’s part of a group discussion.
The issue: Kids who struggle with social cues often don’t understand that conversation is give and take.

Has Trouble Reading Tone of Voice
At home: Your child ignores you when you raise your voice to tell her for the second time to please clean her room.
At school: Your child doesn’t understand that another child is teasing her or being sarcastic.
The issue: Kids who struggle with social cues tend to hear only the words—not the emotion behind them.

Makes Other People Uncomfortable
At home: Your child either stares right into your eyes or makes no eye contact at all when you talk to her.
At school: Your child keeps standing too close to other kids even though they tell her to back off.
The issue: Kids who have trouble picking up on social cues may not perceive how their own body language comes across.
Graphic of At a glance: Trouble picking up on social cues in middle school
Graphic of At a glance: Trouble picking up on social cues in middle school

About the Author

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The Understood Team

The Understood team is composed of passionate writers, editors and community moderators, many of whom have children with learning and attention issues.

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Reviewed by Jenn Osen-Foss, M.A.T. Feb 12, 2014 Feb 12, 2014

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