PPA offers two programs to improve Social Skills: SURF Group Program and PEERS Program
Are you looking for your child to make gains in socialization and overall skills?
PPA’s SURF (Social Understanding & Relationship Fundamentals) Group Program has been successful for over 15 years providing stimulating, fun and effective social experiences for participants. Many of our families’ report that their children/adolescents love to attend and they see positive changes. Our SURF Groups aim to:
- Foster Successful Peer Relationships
- Develop and Improve Self-Monitoring and Self-Regulation Skills
- Develop and Improve Flexibility and Adaptive/Cooperative Behaviors
- Develop Social Understanding, Improve Perspective Taking and Social Skills
- Enhance Self-Esteem, Increase Feelings of Competence while Reducing Anxiety
- Develop and Improve Pro-social Behaviors, Problem-Solving and Conflict Resolution Skills
*will prorate group for observed religious holidays only
Our PEERS (Program for the Education and Enrichment of Social Skills) Program is a parent-assisted 14-session evidence-based social skills intervention for motivated teens who are interested in learning ways to help them make and keep friends. The group focuses on skills like having conversations, handling disagreements, bullying and other forms of rejection. Other areas addressed are having appropriate get-togethers with friends, including being a good host and a good sport. During each group session, teens are taught important social skills and are given the opportunity to practice these skills during socialization activities. This is for adolescents ages 14-17 years of age that is held during the school year; specific dates are dependent on the start date of the group.
Why Are Social Skills So Important? How Can Social Skills Groups Help My Child?
Social Skills are the foundation for getting along with others and having a well-rounded, successful child. We know that children with good social skills are more likeable and have a better self-concept. A lack of Social Skills can lead to peer rejection, feelings of isolation, emotional difficulties, bullying, and difficulty in making friends. Not understanding how to deal with others can also lead to aggressiveness, behavioral difficulties in school, concentration difficulties and academic failures. Some children develop social skills quite easily while others may have the skills; however, certain behaviors or emotions block the way to effective use of their social skills. Additionally, children with learning disabilities, sensory integration difficulties, Asperger’s Disorder and other Autism Spectrum Disorders often need additional training in Social Skills. They will likely benefit from direct instruction in Social Skills Groups led by trained professionals and the availability of a safe environment in which to practice newly learned skills.
If you are interested in joining one of our group programs the first step is to have an Initial Consultation with the group facilitator along with you and your child. This meeting is crucial to the intervention process. It provides an opportunity for the group facilitator to meet with your child, gather pertinent background information, assess strengths and weaknesses and develop goals. This meeting also gives your child a chance to meet with the group facilitator, become comfortable with the environment and for parents to ask questions, etc.
Additionally, group matching is an important step to successful intervention. Every year based on our student’s needs and individual goals, the group facilitators figure out the best social group for them. For our new families, individual, dyad or triad intervention is often needed before going into larger groups in order to assess intervention strategies that will work once your child is in a larger group. New students often need more intense work in order to be able to feel successful in larger groups.
Group dynamics and commitment is another important factor in our social skills group program. For the SURF Group Program, we have implemented blocks of 7-week sessions in order to reassess the structure and dynamics of the groups to meet the individual child and group needs accordingly. We try to keep the groups between 4 to 6 students as this is the most therapeutic considering the amount of individual social facilitation that occurs during the session. As a result, having 1 or 2 absences can greatly affect the learning of all the students. When we have fewer students the group facilitators often need to adjust group activities and advance notice is appreciated. We ask families to be sensitive to this issue and make a commitment to attending the groups weekly unless there is an emergency.
We are fortunate to have highly experienced group facilitators running our group programs. Our Group therapists are also available for consultations and direct individual work with your child and/or parents to help them generalize the techniques they are learning in the groups as well as work on other areas such as behavior, parent guidance, etc.