Social skills are an immensely complex cluster of skills.  A child needs to be able to perceive themselves, teh space around them, and needs to also understand ineractions with other people, and even between other people and groups.

If you never had any developmental issues growing up, it's hard to think about how complex and confusing the world of social skills is.

Many people have social skills challenges. When many of us were kids, nobody really thought much about social skills, but now we realize that you can teach them. You can actually spend time in helping your child understand what's going on and how they can participate successfully.  What type of kid needs social skills help?  ANYBODY, to be honest.  Social skills are a neverending stream of challenges and data.  From shyness, to understanding how close to stand to someone.  From being able to start a conversation to learning to not get so angry at frustrations.  Social skills never go away.

The books and programs listed in this section can be dialed up or dialed down, depending on the situation. In some cases, you can purchase a book, go to the professional and join one of their classes, or even find a professional trained by them.

Here's something that might interest you.  It's a rundown of difficulties that kids with ADHD might display in school.  I got it from a Teacher Tips website:

"Students with attentional problems experience many difficulties in the social area, especially with peer relationships. They tend to experience great difficulty picking up other's social cues, act impulsively, have limited self-awareness of their effect on others, display delayed role-taking ability, and over-personalize other's actions as being criticism, and tend not to recognize positive feedback. They tend to play better with younger or older children when their roles are clearly defined. These students tend to repeat self-defeating social behavior patterns and not learn from experience. Conversationally, they may ramble and say embarrassing things to peers. Areas and time-periods with less structure and less supervision, such as the playground and class parties, can be especially problematic."

This is interesting stuff. 

Social skills classes are the province of speech therapists, if you can believe it.  These people are called "pragnatic speech therapists," because learning to communicate with other people really IS an important part of life, and for some people, it really truly doesn't just fall into place.

Michelle Garcia Winner Books: Superflex and Social Detective
Probably the most respected social skills teacher I know of is Michelle Garcia Winner.  She has a many wonderful books. I have seen her series called Superflex, which is about a superhero who needs to know how to get along with people. It's cute, it's upbeat, it's a cartoon.  Plus it's easy to remember.  She's done another one called You are a Social Detective.

Michelle Garcia Winner Programs
If you can find a good teacher for this stuff, I would recommend it over trying to teach this yourself.  It's nice to have someone in a small class focus on teaching this to your child.  It can be a big help, also.  In the Redwood City area, I can recommend Diane Leventhal of Social Strides. She's got a big personality, a big heart, a great sense of humor, is very dynamic, honest, and competent.  Here is a list of other social thinking-trained professionals, in the US and internationally.

Also recommended is Linguisystems

Book: How Does Your Engine Run
There's another book that looks interesting also called How Does Your Engine Run?  It might be of use in helping a child self-regulate.  Here is a description of how it works from Michelle Morris, the mother of a child with sensory processing disorder.

Other books that deal with social skills:
It's so Much Work to Be your Friend, by Richard Lavoie

Social Skills Websites
The Michelle Garcia Winner websites are good to look through.

An amazing site also is the speakingofspeech website, which contains an entire page of free social skills/pragmatics worksheets.

Check this out

Mom's Autism Page

Mom's ADHD, Etc. Page

Mom's Dyslexia Page

Mom's Sensory Integration Page

Mom's OT Page

The Anachronistic Mom's notes on
Social Skills