Support for Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children

Most children with autism spectrum disorder make developmental progress when treated with a combination of therapies. No one therapy or treatment is equally effective in all children. 

Specialists at the Child Study Center, part of Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone, offer a wide range of support services for children with autism spectrum disorder and their families and caregivers.

Parent and Family Training

The Child Study Center provides individual and group training that is tailored to meet the needs of each family. Our specialists emphasize family-based treatment planning and a focus on the way the family functions.

The center also offers personal and group support programs to help the siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder to cope.

Social Learning Program

The Social Learning Program (Social Skills Group) at the Child Study Center offers group treatments to children three years old through young adults. Participants are screened during a consultation to determine the appropriate group for each child. Groups run for 10 to 14 weeks at a time throughout the year. 

The Child Study Center offers evidence-based treatments that help children improve social skills. These treatments often include a parent’s participation. For children 5 to 10 years old, the Children’s Friendship Training model is a 12-week group that meets for 60 minutes each week. This group is appropriate for children with autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and other social challenges. Each session includes instruction, rehearsal, and homework. 

For teenagers and young adults 11 to 28 years old, the Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS®) helps them to make and keep friends. This group therapy treatment program for children, teens, and their parents is designed to address social skill deficits in people with autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, depression, and other social and emotional challenges. The group session runs for 14 weeks. Each 90-minute session includes instruction, modeling, coaching, and ongoing feedback.

The Social Learning Program offers a variety of groups that are specialized to certain populations or challenges. Facing Your Fears, for instance, is a group designed for children who have both autism spectrum disorder and anxiety. The group is intended for children 7 to 14 years old and incorporates parent participation in every session. 

Similar groups are available for children and adolescents with obsessive-compulsive disorder, body image issues, selective mutism, and other challenges.

The Bridge Project

The Bridge Project is an educational and support program for families with children who have been recently diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. This five-week family support program teaches you strategies to improve your child’s social communication and offers important information about connecting to appropriate services in New York City and New York State. 

The Bridge Project was developed at the Child Study Center to emphasize what families need to know about autism spectrum disorder upon receiving a diagnosis. The program is conducted in a small, interactive, collaborative group setting that includes no more than four families at a time. Each family is invited to bring any adult family member and supportive caregivers, such as grandparents or daycare providers.


Children with special needs can require creative behavior management strategies. Workshops at the Child Study Center help parents to prevent, replace, and manage challenging behaviors. Parents also learn real-life examples of fun, creative, and therapeutic techniques that can be used at home and in schools.