What is the third of the six “Functional Domains”?
The third domain is “Interacting and relating with others”. This domain considers how well a child is able to initiate and sustain emotional connections with others, develop and use the language of the community, cooperate with others, comply with rules, respond to criticism, and respect and take care of the possessions of others (20 CFR 416.926a(i)).
The regulations provide that a preschooler without an impairment should be able to socialize with children as well as adults. The child should begin to prefer playmates and start developing friendships with children who are her own age. The child should be able to use words instead of actions to express herself, and also be better able to share, show affection, and offer to help. The child should be able to relate to caregivers with increasing independence, choose her own friends, and play cooperatively with other children, one-at-a-time or in a group, without continual adult supervision. The child should be able to initiate and participate in conversations, using increasingly complex vocabulary and grammar, and speaking clearly enough that both familiar and unfamiliar listeners can understand what she says most of the time (20CFR 416.926a(i)(2)(iii)).
The regulations provide that a school-age child without an impairment should be developing more lasting friendships with children who are of the same age. The child should begin to understand how to work in groups to create projects and solve problems. The child should have an increasing ability to understand another’s point of view and to tolerate differences. The child 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 can readily understand (20 CFR 416.926a(i)(2)(iv)).
Social Security regulation 20 CFR 416.926a(i)(3) sets forth some examples of limited functioning in this domain that children of different ages might have. The examples do not apply to a child of a particular age, rather, they cover a range of ages and developmental periods. In addition, the examples do not necessarily describe “marked” or “extreme” limitation in the domain. Some examples of difficulty that children could have in interacting and relating with others are: (i) does not reach out to picked up and held by a caregiver; (ii) has no close friends or all friends are older or younger than the child; (iii) avoids or withdraws from people he knows, or is overly anxious or fearful of meeting new people; (iv) has difficulty playing games or sports with rules; (v) has difficulty communicating with others (e.g., in using verbal and nonverbal skills to express herself, in carrying on a conversation, or in asking others for assistance); or (vi) has difficulty speaking intelligibly or with adequate fluency.
A claimant would have no limitation in interacting and relating with others if the evidence does not show any allegation of or objective evidence of any speech or communication disorder.