Social Skills Training

Early Interventions (Ages 3-6)

Holding Hands has developed a social skills training (SST) program for young children between 3 and 6 years old with mild developmental deficits who can function in a group with 4 to 8 other peers. In a developmental approach to social skills training, play is used as the primary medium for intervention, especially with younger children. Play has long been recognized as the context for developmental growth for children with social and developmental challenges.

The modality utilized in treatment will be referred to as Applied Floortime™/ DIR®. Applied Floortime™ consists of taking a systematic instruction goal and eliciting and teaching it in a semi-structured “thematic activity.” The program teaches ecologically valid social skills but does not support rote, repetitive skill training in which the child memorizes social scripts and becomes prompt-dependent; rather, we focus on the child’s developmental level, individual strengths, and deficits. Each group will be held at one of our community-based centers, and a parent group will be run at the same time. Parent-implemented interventions (PII) consist of practitioners collaborating with, training, and coaching parents to implement evidence-based practices (EBPs) with their children through daily social skills opportunities in the home and community.

The sessions are held at one of our community-based centers. The curriculum is designed for 16 weeks of ecologically valid lesson plans with weekly parent resources and homework. The program can be repeated 2 times for families that require additional support and practice.

The weekly curriculum is as follows:

Week #1: What is friendship?

Week #2: Being a good sport; “It’s not about winning or losing—it’s about having fun!”

Week #3: How to join a playgroup

Week #4: Listening with my whole body

Week #5: Social Communication

Week #6: Greeting Others

Week #7: Symbolic Play

Week #8: How to communicate to make friends

Week #9: Turn-taking and waiting

Week #10: Manners; “Monster manners go away”

Week #11: Sharing is caring

Week #12: Transitions

Week #13: Play time; “Choosing developmentally and ecologically valid toys and activities”

Week #14: Self-control and emotional regulation; “It’s my way or the highway”

Week #15: Negotiating and compromise

Week #16: Conflict resolution

School Age Social Skills Training (Ages 7 – 12)

Holding Hands has developed a social skills training (SST) program for children with mild developmental deficits who can function in a group with 5 to 10 other peers. This elementary-level social skills training curriculum was developed by Holding Hands and utilizes the most current evidence-based research. A parent group will be run at the same time. Parent-implemented interventions (PII) consist of practitioners collaborating with, training, and coaching parents to implement evidence-based practices (EBPs) with their children through daily social skills opportunities in the home & community.

The curriculum is designed for 16 weeks of ecologically valid lesson plans with weekly parent resources and homework. The program can be repeated 2 times for families that require additional support and practice.

The weekly curriculum is as follows:

Week #1: Greetings

Week #2: How to slip into a conversation

Week #3: Emotional problem solving

Week #4: Playtime: How to find common interests

Week #5: Self-control and emotional regulation

Week #6: Transitioning smoothly

Week #7: Saying sorry; “making up is not hard to do”

Week #8: When my body needs a break

Week #9: Sportsmanship; “There is no ‘I’ in team”

Week #10: Negotiating & compromise

Week #11: Resisting teasing

Week #12: Sharing ideas

Week #13: Fair share: Borrowing items and honesty

Week #14: Physical boundaries; “my personal space bubble”

Week #15: Bullying

Week #16: Manners

PEERS® (Program for the Education & Enrichment of Relational Skills) Social Skills Training (Ages 13-19)

Holding Hands provides a Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS) which is a 14-week evidence-based social skills intervention for high-functioning, motivated teens in the 7th-12th grade who are interested in learning ways to help them make and keep friends.

This program was developed by Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson at UCLA and has a strong evidence base for use with teens and young adults with social challenges, such as high-functioning ASD and social communication disorder as well as ADHD, anxiety, depression, and other socio-emotional problems.

Parental participation is a key component of our PEERS program. Research shows that parental support, instruction, and supervision significantly benefit the development of friendships. By learning to be effective social coaches, aiding in homework completion, providing opportunities for peer interaction, and giving guidance on interpersonal problem-solving, parents contribute to their adolescents’ or young adults’ abilities to develop and sustain lasting friendships. This parental social coaching also helps ensure that these new skills are retained after the program is over. Parent-implemented interventions (PII) consist of practitioners collaborating with, training, and coaching parents to implement evidence-based practices (EBPs) with their child through daily social skills opportunities in the home & community.

The curriculum is designed for 16 weeks of ecologically valid lesson plans with weekly parent resources and homework. The program can be repeated 2 times for families that require additional support and practice.

School Age Social Skills Training (Ages 7 – 12)

Holding Hands has developed a social skills training (SST) program for children with mild developmental deficits who can function in a group with 5 to 10 other peers. This elementary-level social skills training curriculum was developed by Holding Hands and utilizes the most current evidence-based research. A parent group will be run at the same time. Parent-implemented interventions (PII) consist of practitioners collaborating with, training, and coaching parents to implement evidence-based practices (EBPs) with their children through daily social skills opportunities in the home & community.

The curriculum is designed for 16 weeks of ecologically valid lesson plans with weekly parent resources and homework. The program can be repeated 2 times for families that require additional support and practice.

The weekly curriculum is as follows:

Week #1: Greetings
Week #2: How to slip in a conversation
Week #3: Emotional problem solving
Week #4: Playtime: How to find common interests
Week #5: Self Control and Emotional Regulation
Week #6: Transitioning smoothly
Week #7: Saying sorry; “making up is not hard to do”
Week #8: When my body needs a break
Week #9: Sportsmanship “There is no ‘I’ in team”
Week #10: Negotiating & compromise
Week #11: Resisting teasing
Week #12: Sharing ideas
Week #13: Fair Share: Borrowing items and honesty
Week #14: Physical Boundaries ;“my personal space bubble”
Week #15: Bullying
Week #16: Manners.

PEERS® (Program for the Education & Enrichment of Relational Skills) Social Skills Training (Ages 13-19)

Holding Hands provides a Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS) which is a 14-week evidence-based social skills intervention for high-functioning, motivated teens in the 7th-12th grade who are interested in learning ways to help them make and keep friends.

This program was developed by Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson at UCLA and has a strong evidence base for use with teens and young adults with social challenges, such as high-functioning ASD and social communication disorder as well as ADHD, anxiety, depression, and other socio-emotional problems.

Parental participation is a key component of our PEERS program. Research shows that parental support, instruction, and supervision significantly benefit the development of friendships. By learning to be effective social coaches, aiding in homework completion, providing opportunities for peer interaction, and giving guidance on interpersonal problem-solving, parents contribute to their adolescents’ or young adults’ abilities to develop and sustain lasting friendships. This parental social coaching also helps ensure that these new skills are retained after the program is over. Parent-implemented interventions (PII) consist of practitioners collaborating with, training, and coaching parents to implement evidence-based practices (EBPs) with their child through daily social skills opportunities in the home & community.

The curriculum is designed for 16 weeks of ecologically valid lesson plans with weekly parent resources and homework. The program can be repeated 2 times for families that require additional support and practice.

Topic of Instruction Include:

  • How to use appropriate conversational skills
  • How to find common interests by trading information
  • How to appropriately use humor
  • How to enter and exit conversations between peers
  • How to handle rejection, teasing, and bullying
  • How to handle rumors and gossip
  • How to be a good host during get-togethers
  • How to make phone calls to friends
  • How to choose appropriate friends
  • How to be a good sport
  • How to handle arguments and disagreements
  • How to change a bad reputation

Teen/young adult groups occur at the same time and location.