Social competency predicts a child’s success in later life – not IQ, grades or classroom behavior. Groups focus on building skills to improve social behavior and communication with the following objectives:

  • Decipher verbal and non-verbal cues
  • Understand boundaries
  • Increase flexibility and ease anxiety surrounding transitions
  • Understand emotions in self and others
  • Learn social graces keeping in mind cultural and ethnic diversity as well as social norms
  • Converse with others and stay on topic, interact in play, learn to share and take turns
  • Build empathy and sensitivity to others

There are six tiers of groups, from pre-school to adult, and are typically based on level of functioning and stage of maturity rather than exclusively age. Groups are both action oriented and interactive. The group leader, a master’s level therapist, serves as a guide and model. The group games and activities focus on understanding, cooperating and practicing social skills and concepts.

Each member establishes his or her own individual goals that emphasize personal areas requiring attention. Participants benefit from social rehearsal, feedback and modeling within the group setting. Often an outcome is making friends.

Some examples of group activities include

  • Mirroring: forces eye contact and creates new opportunities for each member to learn leadership skills
  • Social Stories: builds an understanding of typical social situations and appropriate responses
  • Build-a-story: builds Theory of Mind (ToM), sequencing, determining cause and effect
  • Games: for cooperation, expansion of interests
  • Music and toning: build synchronicity, get in touch with energy, become more spontaneous
  • Arts and crafts: individual and group
  • Conversation activities: promotes positive peer interactions

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