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 social communication such as casual conversation, reading nonverbal cues, and interacting with peer groups.
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 Intensive Program, while preschoolers 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
During group therapy, participants learn proper conversation skills, including how to assess and use humor; how to start, enter and exit conversations; 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 children’s success with the program. You learn the skills being taught to your child so you can use the same strategies in your everyday lives and become your child’s at-home social coach. Other family members and friends are encouraged to also learn social coaching skills, so they can support your child in his or her everyday life.
Summer Intensive Program
The PEERS® virtual summer intensive is a social skills group for teens and young adults ages 18 to 35 who are interested in building or refreshing their conversation skills with a focus on socialization in a time of social distancing. 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.
How to Register
To register for the Social Skills Group or the Summer Intensive Program, a participant must have average or greater cognitive and verbal functioning, an interest in making and keeping friends, and understanding of the English language. One parent or guardian must also participate. No formal diagnosis is necessary to take part in the program.
The Child Study Center care management team performs an initial phone screening of all applicants. You and your child 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.
There are two PEERS® teen and young adult social groups sessions per year, one starting in September and the other in February. Weekly sessions are held Mondays. The teen group meets for 14 weeks and our young adult group meets for 16 weeks. Enrollment is limited to 12 participants, and a minimum of 4 participants is required.
PEERS® for Preschoolers
PEERS® for Preschoolers is a parent-assisted intervention for children ages 4 to 6 who are having difficulty making or keeping friends. Our clinicians teach parents how to coach and facilitate their children’s social skills. Parents meet at the same time for 90 minutes each week over a 16-week period using a video-conferencing platform. 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.
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. Role-play videos, parent handouts, and homework assignments are given each week to make sure parents and children are learning and practicing the different skills.