There is an emphasis on the social competence of children who have difficulties with learning as a significant percentage also experience reduced social skills. Social competence in the classroom is becoming increasingly important as the school curriculum incorporates group work and socially directed activities for purposes of learning. A goal of occupational therapy for children with learning difficulties and their parents is that they 'fit' into their social group and form friendships. While teachers are able to identify social skills that are required for life at school, less is known about how children perceive their interactions. This study aimed to explore social interaction during occupational performance at school and at home from the perception of children with learning difficulties and their mothers. Participants included 10, 8- to 12-year-old children who had difficulties with learning and their 10 mothers. Children were interviewed using semi-structured focus groups. Mothers participated in semi-structured interviews. Four main themes emerged from this study, including the importance of social skills, effects of poor social skills, difficulties with planning and problem solving in social situations and impact of social competence on a child's occupational performance. The study revealed that social participation is perceived to be an integral part of the child's ability to participate in occupational performance, and that children have definite perspectives on the importance of social competence. Children in this study indicated that their social skills were adequate when in an one-to-one situation but not in a group.