Individual social skills training may be more effective initially than
group training to work on basic attending skills. Some students will need
to learn from an adult how to maintain attention before they can apply
that to a peer. We may also work individually with a child to address
certain disruptive behavior problems that we would not want to discuss
with the student in front of his or her peers.
Group social skills training allows students to learn skills and practice
them in an interactive format with others. Moreover, a goal of group training
is to make friends with the other members. We try to match students by
cognitive and language ability, social interest, age, and geographic compatibility
in order to maximize the potential for friendship.
Groups meet once a week for one hour. Most of the groups are scheduled
in the afternoon and early evening hours. Groups run in 12 week cycles.
If you plan to join a group, then we ask that you attend at least 12 sessions,
since we are holding this spot for you. If you miss more than two sessions
in a 12 week cycle we ask that you pay for the missed session. Many students
continue for a number of cycles with the opportunity to add new members
or end therapy after each 12 week cycle. For children under 9 years old,
we typically ask that parents participate in the group with the youngster
for the first 12 weeks to facilitate the acquisition and generalization
of skills. Groups typically have a structured skill lesson and a less
structured conversation and/or play time to practice the skills learned
during skill lessons.
Family counseling or parent training is often indicated when students
are having behavioral difficulties. We offer parent training to help parents
effectively manage disruptive behaviors and teach their children better
ways to get what they need. Individual counseling is helpful when students
have suffered a trauma (e.g. loss of a family member, parental divorce,
constant harassment from peers) or is having difficulty coming to terms
with their disability. When students first become aware of their differences,
they often develop unrealistic, overly negative perceptions of themselves.
Individual sessions can help students develop more realistic and positive
perceptions of themselves.