Introducing PEERS® for Adolescents: A New Social Skills Therapy Group for Middle & High Schoolers

Sponsored by Heartspring.

We are currently forming our next group for our Social Skills Group (SSG) program at Heartspring!

Our group is called PEERS, this stands for Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills. It was developed at UCLA and has been used across the US and other countries. It provides evidence-based social skills treatment for kids and adults with ASD, ADHD, anxiety, depression, and other socio-emotional needs.

This is a 16-week program that will meet once per week, starting the week of August 21 and ending the week of December 11.

This group will meet for 90 minutes (4-5:30 p.m.) on either Mondays, Tuesdays, or Wednesdays. We follow a curriculum with a different topic each week.

The goal of the PEERS social skills group is to help your child/teen learn how to make and keep friends, to help parents/caregivers more effectively support their child/teen’s efforts at finding suitable friends, and to help your child/teen foster independence with his or her social relationships. Parents also attend a follow up session and are provided information on how to assist their teens.

Some of the topics we discuss are:

  • How to use appropriate conversation skills,
  • How to join a conversation,
  • How to find common interests with a peer,
  • How to use appropriate humor, and
  • How to handle rejection, teasing, and bullying

We are excited to get this next group going and would love to have your child join!

In the meantime, here are a few tips to help your child socialize:

  • Teach them that friendship is a choice and how to choose appropriate friends.
  • Teach them how to have a two-way conversation and share information with the other person without being a conversation hog.
  • Teach them how to use appropriate humor and how to receive humor feedback.
  • Teach them the importance of online safety and how to make friends safely online.
  • Teach them how to be a good sport.

In PEERS, we teach kids/teens how to do these things by asking questions, using “buzzwords” or rules, watching role-play videos, and actually role-playing with the instructors and the group. Your child is then given “homework” to practice what we learned about in that lesson with parents, family, and friends at home or in the community.

Contact Outpatient Services for more information at 316-634-8710.

If you are interested, please email [email protected] prior to June 12, as we start assigning the groups. Financial assistance is available. Peers is conducted by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and Group Therapy for insurance billing.

Heartspring has been a leader and innovator in services for children with special needs and their families since it was founded in 1934 as the Institute of Logopedics. While the organization’s face and name have changed over the years, its dedication to the mission of helping children with special needs find greater independence has remained constant.

Over time, the organization has grown and evolved to meet the ever-changing challenges of children locally, regionally, and nationally. Today, Heartspring provides a wide range of services and therapies through several programs including the Heartspring Therapeutic School, Outpatient Services, and Family & Community Outreach.