What You Will Learn
PEERS® (Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills) was developed at the University of California Los Angeles. The group was created to be a parent assisted social skills training for youth and young adults challenged with autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, depression, anxiety, and the twice exceptional with social impairments.
The group is tailored for teens and young adults who are motivated to learn the ecologically valid skills (or what people who are socially accepted naturally do) that are proven to improve their abilities to make and keep friends.
Parental participation is a key component of our PEERS® program. Research shows that parental support, instruction, and supervision significantly benefit the development of friendships. Parent groups run concurrent with teen/young adult groups at the same time and location.
Among the few social skills programs that exist, the vast majority do not provide evidence to support their claims of improving social skills, nor do they provide parent assistance. To date, the only known research-supported social skills program available for teens and young adults with ASD and other social challenges is PEERS®.
“I used to think people didn’t like me. Nobody wanted to talk to me at my old school. I tried to make friends at first… but I didn’t know I was doing it wrong. I didn’t know what to say. I’d kind of stand there and they wouldn’t say anything, …and they’d look at me like I was weird. Then I just stopped trying. I used to cry about it, too. But now I know how to talk to people. I just find stuff that we like and talk about that. Like when they were talking about Twilight that day, I was like, ‘I can talk about that.’ So I did…and then they starting asking me questions. Now I know that’s how it works…that’s how you make friends.” -From the book The Science of Making Friends. A socially anxious 14 year-old who completed PEERS®
"David is doing really well. I think the PEERS work really did a lot for him. He is more confident and makes plans with others. He even went to Homecoming at another school with 4 friends this fall. He had a great time. It was so awesome because at a dance in 8th grade, he had a panic attack" -A parent of a teen who graduated from PEERS® Denver
"Also big WIN for Gerald, yesterday he rode his bike for hours in the neighborhoods around where we are living in Denver. A boy says hi as he was riding by and.... drumroll.... Gerald STOPPED AND HAD A CONVERSATION WITH HIM! He told me the boys name was Jack, he’ll be going to Gerald's school next year in the same grade and also likes Rubik's cubes. I asked him what he would have done last summer if a boy said hi as he was riding by and Gerald said he would have kept looking straight ahead and rode faster to get away. This demonstrates how much he gained from peers!!! THANK YOU! I was thrilled when he told me, especially because it seemed normal to him now and wasn’t a big deal!!!" -A parent of a teen who graduated from PEERS® Denver
Expanding the social knowledge that opens the door for more interests explored between peers.
Teen Groups are typically held on either Wednesdays or Thursdays from 6:00 to 7:30pm
Young Adult Groups are typically held on Tuesdays from 6:00 to 7:30pm
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Based on parent and self-report, teens and young adult participants showed a significant improvement on all sub scales of the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS-2) from pre to post PEERS® Denver intervention. This includes a significant improvement in Social Awareness, Social Cognition, Social Communication, Social Motivation, and Restricted and Repetitive Behaviors. Individuals improved a full standard deviation on autism symptoms taking them from Moderate to Mild symptoms in just 16 weeks.
Additionally, youth participants were asked to take a multiple-choice quiz before and after the program assessing general knowledge of social skills. Participants significantly improved in their social skills knowledge through the PEERS® Denver program, as measured by this quiz. Prior to completing the PEERS® program, the mean score on this measure was 52%, roughly equivalent to the guessing average as each item had two possible answers. The mean score following PEERS® was 82% demonstrating significant improvement in crystallized knowledge of social skills.
Want to make friends more easily
Want to interact with the real world and not just electronics
Are intelligent, creative, but seem to miss connecting with peers
May be easily led to negative behaviors to get attention or feel accepted
Are well meaning, but sometimes awkward
**Parental participation is a key component of our PEERS® program**
Our mission is to embrace each family with compassion and professionalism that will create a social vessel for 16 weeks allowing there to be a stronger foundation that can have a life long impact.