Spatial Awareness Resources

The basic concept of "personal space" is an important social rule. It's a simple idea--each of us has an invisible bubble around us where we feel safe, and if someone crosses into it we become uncomfortable. Most children instinctively sense when they enter someone else's personal space and when theirs is crossed, but the special-needs child may need help learning these boundaries. She might forcefully invade her peer's space, oblivious to how it makes him feel. And this could cause her to be rejected by peers and have difficulty making friends. Or your child's inability to recognize when his own personal space has been invaded could potentially make him vulnerable to inappropriate conduct.

If you ask someone how they learned to read nonverbal cues in everyday conversations, they may reply that they learned these things through observing the interactions of family and friends; many people may reply that they aren't quite sure how they know that a certain expression means a friend is bored or annoyed — they just know. This is because for most people, the skills needed for social interaction come 'naturally' during the process of growth and development. However, for many individuals this process may not be so effortless and direct social skills instruction may be necessary (Canney and Byrne, 2006; DeGeorge, 1998).