My child has Tourette Syndrome and ADHD. He craves attention. He has outstanding social skills, but he also has "leaky brakes" (underdeveloped ability to self-inhibit). Put all of that together and he takes every chance he can get to interact with peers at school, even when this gets him in trouble and lands him in the principal's office over and over again. I need a succinct way to explain the connection between his social skills and the attention-seeking behavior. He has the opposite of a "social skills deficit" -- a phrase one often sees in education and psychology.

What is a succinct expression of the opposite of a "social skills deficit"?


I was asked to provide more information to enable people to give useful answers.

Reason I need this word or phrase: for communicating with school personnel, special education impartial hearing officer (similar to a judge), and U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights investigators.

The child thrives on social interactions and his social interactions are highly satisfying, both to himself and those he engages with. The problem is that has trouble sifting when to engage and when not to.

The school conducted an evaluation which determined that the child has "no social skills deficits." (Well, duh.) I need a succinct formulation to express the antonym of "social skills deficits." Here's an example sentence (the child's first initial is M):

M's _______________ and dysinhibition result in socialization which disrupts classroom activities; the school handles this disruptiveness in punitive ways.

And then I would go on to argue for the creation of a Positive Behavior Intervention Plan. (Which I have been requesting, every couple of months, for the past four years....)

One possible phrase that could go in the blank, that occurred to me as a result of the helpful answers and comments here, is

overabundant social skills

  • 2
    Well surplus is the economic antonym. Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 15:59
  • 1
    @BladorthinTheGrey Very well hedged. I can't see even Sherlock [wackily] claiming a "social skills surplus" Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 16:03
  • 1
    @Rathony Cognitive Sciences may be what you're looking for. Be aware that it does have quite a small community and if the OP is looking for a more language orientated answer, EL&U may still be for this question. Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 16:14
  • 1
    I wonder if your child is blessed with musical skills as some people with Tourette's Syndrome seem to be. I believe that Mozart may have had TS. I recall that a biography claimed this was the case. Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 18:51
  • 1
    @PeterPoint - As a matter of fact, he is. He has a lot of other remarkable talents and strengths as well. I have often noticed that I feel like Superman's parent. I think that if I were to get stuck in the snow I could just ask him to pick up the front of the car and move it over a few inches. Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 21:08

4 Answers 4


His "gregarious nature" (or even gregariousness), perhaps? I think that captures a large part of what you're trying to convey, although it perhaps doesn't fully convey the part about other students enjoying it as well.

There's also extraversion, but I don't think that hits the mark quite as closely.

  • I think you hit the nail on the head. Commented Jul 31, 2019 at 18:33

Speech Language Pathologist here. I work with kids with social language deficits, as well as kids with other language disorders and a variety of behavior and social difficulties. I would consider the ability to recognize (and have control over your role in) the kinds of interactions one has with others as an essential part of social skills, so what you're describing as your child's strength would best be described as "high sociability"--the desire to interact with others, and high degrees of interaction.

That being said, the antonym I would choose to answer your original question about the opposite of "social skills deficit" (but not describe the specific set of strengths and difficulties your child appears to have from your brief description) would be "high social intelligence," which is the ability to successfully navigate a wide variety of social situations across a wide variety of environments.

This article from Psychology Today has basic explanations of the concept of social intelligence, as well as some references to publications on the topic.

A caveat to my expertise here: when I see that a student has high sociability, no underlying language disorder, but is having difficulty in school because of difficulties with impulse control, lack of distinction between positive and negative attention, or other difficulties that are related more to executive function than language, I collaborate with special ed teachers and/or social workers. They might be able to give a more definitive and reliable answer than I can.

Also please note that I'm not intending to either diagnose or criticize either you or your child. My intention is to give a clear answer for your antonym request, but also note how the example doesn't completely fit the phrase request.

  • Though this answer seems credible given your credentials, I am a bit confused: if it is high social intelligence which means his ability to *successfully* navigate a wide variety of social situations across a wide variety of environments is high, why does that get him into trouble and land him in the principal's office over and over again? Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 17:00
  • "High social intelligence" is the antonym to "social skills deficit, " but doesn't apply to this specific child. Perhaps I should clarify the answer to make this more clear. Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 17:02
  • @KatherineLockwood - "High social intelligence" sounds promising. Help me understand the apparent contradiction you see. I'm intrigued. Here is my current thinking: In TS and ADHD, the reward system can be out of whack. He gets a small fix every time he has a successful peer interaction, therefore he craves them, to such an extent that he will seek them out to such an extent that he gets himself into trouble. (In TS and ADHD, self-inhibition is limited.) Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 21:11
  • Would "high social ability" work as an antonym to "social skills deficit"? I want to make sure the term I use is easily understandable by a [reasonably well educated] layman. Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 21:16
  • @aparente001, I'm getting a little out of my league here, but I would say the difficulty is that self-inhibition is necessary to maximize success (where a criterion of "success" would be not to end up in trouble at school) in social interactions, and would thus be a necessary condition of high social intelligence. For high sociability, the criterion of success would be enjoyment of the interaction (likely including a hit of dopamine). So someone can be highly sociable, but not succeeding (by extrinsic and neurotypical societal criteria) in social situations. Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 21:24

He is possibly oversocializing.


Verb oversocialize

(intransitive) to socialize too much

Verb socialize

(intransitive) To interact with others


He has overabundant social skills.

Overabundance: A going or being beyond what is needed, desired, or appropriate; an excess


  • Out of interest, since you asked the question, is this what you/your partner/his school etc. refer to him as? Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 17:30
  • @BladorthinTheGrey - Do you mean, does anyone describe the child as having "overabundant social skills"? Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 17:31
  • Yes, is that how you would refer to him or is this just your suggestion as a future possibility? Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 17:33
  • @BladorthinTheGrey - I have a one-page synopsis in my hip pocket which I send to teachers, summer camps, etc. The current version (updated in October) contains the following relevant snippets: Strengths: people skills, [....] Description: [...] overparticipates, blurts things out, echoes words and phrases, clumsy, [...] What's Helpful: [...] be creative with seating and seating partner, to minimize disruptive symptoms.... // For my closing argument, I was up against my deadline and I ended up not talking about this. My favorite description is the one written by his first grade teacher ... Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 20:22
  • ... in Germany when he was a guest student there for a month. Here is my spouse's translation to English of the relevant section: "(Student) is a friendly, attentive and self-confident boy, who establishes contact with people easily. He showed a lot of interest in the other students in the classroom, learned their names quickly, and enjoyed playing with them." Another great description is what my son wrote recently in his application for the Tourette Youth Ambassador training program:... Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 20:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.