Selecting A Social Skills Group
Social skills groups can be a helpful therapeutic treatment for children, adolescents, and adults who experience difficulty establishing and maintaining positive relationships and friendships with their peers. These groups provide an opportunity for participants to learn and practice appropriate social skills with peers, with the assistance of a group facilitator.
The idea of a social skills group can feel both exciting and overwhelming. At times, selecting a group that meets your family’s unique needs can take longer than you anticipate. It can be helpful to give yourself whatever time you need to explore the various social skills group available in your community, to find the best fit for your family. If you stop and think about it – you do not become friends with everyone that you meet. So why do we expect this of our children when it comes to social skills groups?
Selecting a group should be a mutual process between your family and the clinician. Here are some questions that may be helpful on your journey to select the social skills group that best meets your family’s needs:
- How long and often do your groups meet?
- Is the group ongoing or are there a set number of sessions?
- How many people are in a group?
- Are people same gender? Age?
- Do people have same functioning Level? Abilities? Goals? Diagnoses?
- How do you determine this?
- What do people do/learn in your group? How is this accomplished?
- Is the group lecture vs. interactive?
- Are their fieldtrips? Ways people can practice skills they learn outside of the office setting? Who attends?
- How do people learn to use what they learn in group, outside of group (in other environments)?
- Are parents/primary caregivers involved? How?
- Do parents/primary caregivers have opportunities to be observed or receive feedback on interactions with their child? Does this apply to children of all ages?
- How is feedback on a person’s progress given to them? To their family? How often?
- Are facilitators available outside of group? When?
- Does your group have a screening process or is it open for interested people to join?
- Is it possible to observe or “try” a group before committing?