The Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills, or PEERS®, Social Skills Program at the Child Study Center offers group therapy services for preschoolers, teens, and young adults who struggle with casual conversation, reading nonverbal cues, interacting with peer groups, and other social communication skills.
Teens and young adults up to age 35 with social communication difficulties related to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder, anxiety, depression, or related challenges can benefit from our Social Skills Group or Summer Conversation Intensive Program, while preschoolers ages 5 and 6 can benefit from our PEERS® for Preschoolers Program. The PEERS® Social Skills Program is an evidence-based social skills intervention, and research shows positive long-term outcomes for participants.
Social Skills Group
PEERS® is a caregiver-assisted social skills group for teens age 13 to 17 and young adults age 18 to 35 who are interested in learning ways to help them make and keep friends. Participants and their parent or social coach meet each week for 90 minutes over a 15- to 17-week period. Groups are offered either in person or virtually, depending on the time of year.
During group therapy, participants learn proper conversation skills, including how to start, enter, and exit conversations; how to assess and use humor; and how to communicate appropriately over email, text, or other electronic communication. We also discuss how to choose the right friends, organize successful get-togethers with your peers, and how to handle arguments and disagreements with friends. Bullying, teasing, rejection, gossip, and cyberbullying are also addressed. The young adult group also discusses dating etiquette and how to have safe, appropriate romantic relationships.
Each group therapy session includes instruction, modeling, coaching, and ongoing feedback. Teens and young adults learn skills through in-group rehearsal and homework, which helps build confidence and solidify new skills.
Separate, concurrent classes are held for parents and guardians, whose involvement is integral to their child’s success with the program. In these groups you learn the skills being taught to participants so that you can serve as a social coach in your child’s everyday life.
We also offer virtual intensive sessions adapted from the PEERS® program.
Summer Conversation Intensive Program
The Summer Conversation Intensive Program is a social skills group for teens and young adults ages 13 to 35 who are interested in building or refreshing their conversation skills. This five-day virtual intensive program focuses on targeted skills from the PEERS® curriculum, such as navigating electronic communication, taking turns in conversation, and entering and exiting conversation.
This class-like program is for high school seniors and older who have an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis. The five-day virtual group covers topics such as dating dos and don’ts, letting someone know you like them, asking someone out on a date, and how to plan a date. The Dating Intensive Program is recommended for individuals seeking a program that emphasizes dating skills.
PEERS for Preschoolers
PEERS® for Preschoolers is a parent-assisted intervention for children ages 5 and 6 who are having difficulty making or keeping friends. Our clinicians teach parents how to coach and facilitate their children’s social skills. Parents and children meet weekly for 90 minutes in separate concurrent groups during this 16-week program. The group focuses on skills like meeting and greeting friends, sharing and giving a turn, asking for a turn, keeping cool, being a good sport, joining a game, keeping body boundaries, and using an inside voice.
Children are taught skills through puppet-facilitated lessons and practice in the program. Parents are taught how to teach their children new social skills and how to help their children make and keep friends by arranging playdates and acting as social coaches for their children in real-time playdates. Weekly role-play videos, parent handouts, and homework assignments help ensure that parents and children are learning and practicing the different skills.
Enrollment information for Spring 2023 programs is currently being finalized. If you would like to be included on our registration list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to Register
To register, a participant must have average or greater cognitive and verbal functioning, an interest in making and keeping friends, and an understanding of the English language. One parent or guardian must also participate. Unless otherwise noted, no formal diagnosis is necessary to take part in the program.
The Child Study Center care management team performs an initial 15-minute phone screening of all applicants. Your child and your child’s social coach are then invited to meet a member of our PEERS® team, so together you can determine if your child can benefit from a social skills therapy group.