The UCLA Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relationship Skills (PEERS®) is a manualized, social skills training intervention for adolescents and young adults. This program has a strong evidence-base for use with teens and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) but may also be appropriate for teens and young adults with ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and other socio-emotional problems. It includes 16 consecutive weeks of training with both a teen/young adult and a parent component which occur simultaneously.
PEERS is designed for motivated youth who are interested in learning ways to help them make and keep friends. During each group session, teens are taught important social skills and are given the opportunity to practice these skills in session through role playing and during real play activities (e.g. playing sports, board games, etc.). Each week there is a “homework” component in which the teen is encouraged to practice their new skills.
Parents are taught how to assist their teens in making and keeping friends in their group session and are expected to provide feedback to their teen through coaching during weekly socialization homework assignments.
Weekly Topics of Instruction:
- How to use appropriate conversational skills
- How to find common interests by trading information
- How to appropriately use humour
- How to enter and exit conversations between peers
- How to handle rejection, teasing, and bullying
- How to handle rumours 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
The Research Finds…
Increased adolescent social skills and knowledge
Increased number and frequency of hosted “get-togethers”
Improved overall social skills including: cooperation, assertion and responsibility (parent reported)
Improved social responsiveness including: awareness, recognition and communication (parent reported)
A trend toward increased overall social skills (teacher reported)
What are the participation requirements?
Youth who struggle with making and keeping friends
Youth aged 10-14yrs (some flexibility, please contact Program Director for personal exceptions)
Youth must be interested in the program and attend voluntarily