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Childhood SSI and Interacting and Relating to Others

     Parents applying for childhood SSI benefits are often confused by how the Social Security Administration evaluates the claim. The SSA looks at the child's functioning in terms of six domains.  This entry dealing with Interacting and Relating with Others is the third in a series discussing domains of function.  

     In this domain, the SSA considers how well the child initiates and sustains emotional connections with others, develops and uses the language of the community, cooperates with others, complies with rules, responds to criticism, and respects and takes care of the possessions of others.

     Newborns and young infants begin to form intimate relationships at birth by gradually responding visually and vocally to caregiver(s), through mutual gaze and vocal exchanges, and by physically molding her body to the caregiver's while being held. 

     Older infants and toddlers are dependent upon caregivers, but should begin to separate from them. The child should be able to express emotions and respond to the feelings of others, as well as begin initiating and maintaining interactions with adults, but also show interest in, then play alongside other children their age.

     Preschool children should be able to socialize with children as well as adults and should begin to prefer playmates their own age and start to develop friendships with children their age.  The child should be able to use words instead of actions to express themselves, and also be better able to share, show affection, and offer to help.

     School-age children should be able to develop more lasting friendships with children who their age and understand how to work in groups to create projects and solve problems.  They should be well able to talk to people of all ages, to share ideas, tell stories, and to speak in a manner that both familiar and unfamiliar listeners readily understand.

     Adolescents should be able to initiate and develop friendships and to relate appropriately to other children and adults, both individually and in groups. They should begin to be able to solve conflicts between themelves and peers or family members or other adults. They should be able to intelligibly express feelings, ask for assistance in getting needs met, seek information, describe events, and tell stories, in all kinds of environments, and with all types of people.   

     If you need more information about a Social Security Disability/SSI, personal injury, EEOICPA, long or short-term disability, VA disability, Railroad Retirement Board disability, or a workers compensation matter, please contact the Law Offices of Tony Farmer and John Dreiser for a free case evaluation. We can be reached at (865) 584-1211 or (800) 806-4611 or through our website. Our office handles claims throughout East Tennessee.

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Tony Farmer & John Dreiser

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