SOCIAL SKILLS TRAINING
The goal of social skills group therapy is to better prepare the individual to cope with social and interpersonal expectations. Individuals with PDD often are repetitious in their speech and over-focused on certain topics rather than on a dialogue. Echolalia, pronoun reversal, and neologisms are common in the speech of those affected with PDD. Other common speech differences are concrete and poorly constructed grammar, atypical tone, pitch, and prosody. In general, a group setting is most effective to teach social skills as group members can learn from each other, but individual therapy can be effective as well.
Initially, learning how to interpret others’ social behaviors should be taught and practiced in a rote fashion. Making eye contact, tone of voice, body language, and facial and hand gestures are good starting points. Practicing these skills within the group or individual session is very important. When working with children, having parents involved to practice new skills outside of therapy is essential to success. Studies have shown with social skills groups that often the skills taught in the group do not generalize to real world settings. Involving parents in the group process and using repetition can possibly improve success with generalization.
Countryman, MD. ( 2008) Social Skills Groups for Asperger’s Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2008 Jan; 5(1): 42–47.
We offer social skills training for school age kids and adults who have high functioning Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. We believe that participants will learn through their positive experiences in a safe environment we provide and encourage them to active participation and practice social skills, complete with supports to promote their success and independence.
We teach specific skills and strategies based on the most immediate needs of the individual. Some areas of focus might include:
- Social cues, including body language, social distance, eye contact, and tone of voice.
- Speech pragmatics, including introductions, conversational skills, tone of voice.
- Non-literal language, including slang, idioms and expressions.
- Problem solving skills, including how to identify a problematic situation and apply specific learned strategies; how to use prior knowledge to make inferences; how to predict the outcome of different possible actions.
- Emotional coping skills, including learning to identify feelings of anxiety and frustration, manage stress, and apply effective strategies to respond to their emotions.
- Functional life skills, including taking care of oneself and one’s space, eating at restaurants, going shopping, etc.
All of these life skills can be broken down and taught as systems of logically sequenced steps and rules.
SOCIAL SKILLS TRAINING (8 WEEKS)
All individuals referred to our group program start by attending an initial interview with their parent(s) or guardian(s). Information from the interview is used as a guide in determining the best possible placement for each individual. The individual will be placed in a small group with other kids with similar in age, compatible interests and behavioral styles. Each group is co-led by Behavior Specialist who meets with the group for 75-minute sessions in a week. Each 8 weeks program focuses on specific social skill. These groups focus on helping individuals improve their social skills while engaging in a variety of common age appropriate activities, including informal talk time, cooperative play, and creative group activities. First and 8th week session will be recorded to compare to progress. Each participant will have individualized goals to work on.
While each session may vary according to the group’s functioning and developmental level, all groups follow a structured routine in which specific skills are taught and reinforced through a careful step by step approach to social learning. For younger or less experienced groups, group leaders help individuals to build basic pragmatic communication skills such as listening and turn taking. Behavior specialists also provide specific training to help children express feelings and handle differences in more adaptive ways. As groups progress in age and experience, individuals eventually learn to interact at higher levels using skills such as problem solving, negotiating and working together. These skills form the building blocks necessary to make and sustain friendships.
Dates and Times
Mon thru Friday 3.00-4.15pm or 4.30-5.45pm
Saturday 10.00-11.15am or 11.30-1.45pm or 2.00-3.15pm or 3.30-4.45pm