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Natural Awakenings Fairfield Cty/Housatonic Valley, CT

Even the SuperSmart Helped by SuperKids

Mar 11, 2011 02:56PM

“Many people think that because a child is smart, he or she “should” know how to fit in socially,” says Barbara Cooper, LMHC, ATR-BC, co-director of SuperKids, which is celebrating its tenth year in Ridgefield, and also has a location in Norwalk. But this is not always true. IQ and social/emotional EQ can exist on very different levels in one person, leading to problems, since the smart child who doesn’t read the social environment is often accused of being “oppositional” and “uncooperative.” This causes socially challenged children and teens to feel greatly misunderstood and confused, often resulting in “acting out” behaviors.

 “Our advice,” says SuperKids co-director Nancy Widdows, LPC, ATR-BC, “ is to understand that developing social skills is something a child can work on and get better at, provided it’s taught in a specific manner by trained professionals.” SuperKids can say that with assurance, since its program focuses only on social skills or social thinking/perspective development, offering many services, group and individual therapies, to both parents and children, teens and young adults. After working with SuperKids, children, teens and young adults learn to better read social cues, to consider themselves in a social context, and to understand the effect of their behaviors on other people.

 Almost all of SuperKids’ clients are in mainstream classrooms, and have IQs that range from average to superior, Widdows emphasizes. Their challenges are in the social arena. SuperKids also provides “parent coaching” to help parents become more effective in communicating with and disciplining their kids in a positive way. The single most important advice SuperKids offers is for parents to start with a good, comprehensive evaluation that pinpoints the reasons behind the child’s struggle, since the amount of therapeutic choices out there can be confusing.

 SuperKids also offers training to professionals as well as to school staffs, which takes place onsite on staff development days. “It’s important that not only teachers, but teacher aides and psychosocial staff better understand the neurology and behaviors of children with social skills challenges. Teaching hands-on skills for use in the classroom helps the entire school community to assist the socially challenged child,” says Barbara Cooper.

 One of the things that makes SuperKids so successful is that the children and teens they serve have fun, even while working on issues that are difficult and sometimes painful for them. Groups run throughout the year: two semesters during the school year and one in the summer.

SuperKids LLC has three locations: in Ridgefield at 898 Ethan Allen Highway, in Norwalk at 8 Berkeley Street, and in Orange, CT. Call 866.944.9558 or visit for more information.