Many parents are concerned that their son or daughter doesn’t seem to fit in with other children or to know the appropriate responses to further their social interactions. Some children or adolescents are shy and hold back from reaching out to others. Other children or adolescents are full of energy and reach out to others in ways that their peers find off-putting. Thus for the past few decades therapists in their offices and counselors in the schools have offered social skills groups to children and adolescents centered around social training.
Programs have been developed to guide the adult running the group to teach the appropriate skills and provide the members of the group with the opportunity to practice the skills learned. However, one problem that has continued to plague many of these groups is the failure of younger children attending the group to generalize the newly learned behaviors outside of the group. The children perform the desired behavior in the group under the direction of the group leader but fail to express the behavior spontaneously at appropriate moments in their daily lives. It would be like taking piano lessons but never playing anywhere except at the teachers’ studio. This failure has frustrated researchers and parents alike.
Coming soon, I will be starting Social Skills Groups, and will be using the Skillstreaming approach here at STA. One of the aspects of that program that appeals so much to me is the specific emphasis on promoting the generalization of the skills learned in the group to the everyday environment of the child. In addition, there are a plethora of modules in the program, each of which is teaching a different skill. By matching up the specific needs of the members attending a group for children or for adolescents, an optimal match of participants can be made and the most needed skills focused on.
If you want further information about one of the groups or are ready to complete the paperwork provided in the Skillstreaming approach for describing the social difficulties that your child or adolescent may be experiencing, please call me, Dr. Richard Drew, at 201-488-6678. I hope to be forming a group for children in the age range of 8 to 11 and another group for teenagers from age 13 to 16. Groups will be tailored to serve the specific needs of those attending one of the groups. I can then help guide you through the intake process to get started!