Invisible Differences - PEERS®
PEERS® Social Skills Intervention
PEERS® is a 16-week social skills workshop, developed at UCLA, that teaches teenagers and young adults with special needs to make and keep friends. Center for Companies That Care is the only certified provider of PEERS® in Chicago. Classes are running continuously in downtown and Skokie locations! Click here to register.
There are separate parent and teen sessions that meet at the same time for 90 minutes each week over a 16-week period. The young adult sessions meet for two hours for 10 weeks. Both groups focus on skills like: having two-way conversations, finding common interests, entering and exiting conversations, making phone calls, handling teasing and bullying, healing interpersonal conflict, using humor appropriately, good sportsmanship, and being a good host and guest during get-togethers and other group social events.
Parents/guardians are taught how to help their teens/young adults make and keep friends by acting as social coaches outside the group. During the teen session, students are presented with a lesson, modeling of appropriate and inappropriate behaviors and then practice the skills they learn each lesson which participating in socialization activities or playing board games, card games or outdoor sports. Homework assignments are also given each week to make sure teens are practicing the skills they are learning.
Adolescents who would Benefit from the PEERS® approach to learning social skills include those who:
- Have difficulty making and/or keeping friends
- Function best when they have a set of concrete rules to follow
- Use humor inappropriately
- Have a bad reputation in school or the community
- Are perceived as bossy
- Talk too much and don’t engage in a give-and-take dialogue
- Are teased or bullied by their peers
- Tend to talk about the same thing over and over
- Are afraid of social interactions
The PEERS® approach is less effective for teenagers and young adults who:
- Are not socially motivated (truly don’t care whether they have or keep friends)
- Are emotionally dis-regulated (have poor control over the display of their emotions)
- Have below average intelligence
Learn More About PEERS®
- Social skills are broken down into concrete rules and steps that are practiced repeatedly in a variety of settings.
- The rules and steps are ecologically valid for teens and young adults. The strategies taught to the teens and young adults are actually used by teens and young adults in the real world. These strategies may or may not be the strategies adults think teenagers should use.
- Parents are an integral part of the process.
- The intervention can be modified according to the individual needs of each teenager.
We encourage you to call us at 312.661.1010 with any questions you have! The PEERS® program is a significant time commitment and we want to help you determine whether it’s a good fit for your family.
Please feel free to check out two articles written about the effectiveness of PEERS®:
- "Evidence-Based Social Skills Training for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders: The UCLA PEERS Program" published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
- "Can Joey Make a Friend?" published in PEOPLE
The cost for the 16-week workshop includes the student's as well as the parent's participation. Scholarships are available.
Register for PEERS®
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