PEERS (Program for the Evaluation and Enrichment of Relational Skills) is a parent-assisted evidence based intervention focusing on teens in middle and high school who are having difficulty making or keeping friends. Developing and keeping friendships correlates positively with self-esteem and independence. The intervention includes separate parent and teen sessions which meet at the same time for 90-minutes each week over a 14-week period.
Research indicates that parents can have significant effects upon their adolescent’s friendships, both in terms of direct instruction and supervision, as well as, supporting their adolescent development of an appropriate peer network. The group focuses on skills that include having conversations, different forms of communications, choosing appropriate friends, handling bullying, how to enter/exit conversations, appropriate use of humor, and managing arguments/disagreements with friends.
Each session builds upon skills learned in previous sessions. Homework is given at the end of each session and is reviewed at the beginning of the next session. Newly learned skills are rehearsed by the adolescents in each session, during which they receive feedback from the certified facilitator and coaches who are students from local colleges.
Admission to the training includes a phone screening with the parent and then a face to face intake with the parent and the adolescent. Testing is conducted during the face to face intake. These same tests are re-administered after the training to collect data on the adolescent’s progress. Class capacity is between six (6) to eight (8) adolescents.
Learning to make and keep friends may be especially difficult for adolescents with ASD, ADHD, anxiety or depression because the natural development and transmission of necessary peer etiquette requires generally positive and sustained interaction with peers and learning from best friends. Frequent isolation, which is common among adolescents with ASD, may make social deficits more pronounced. ESL’s goals are to teach the skills necessary to make and keep friends so that it will have a significant lifelong impact for adolescents with ASD, ADHD, anxiety or depression.
If you’d like to learn more about this program, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a visit. For a pdf version of our flier, please click here.