Social skills groups cross the line from fun to effective when there is the correct blend of art and science. The art is the flexibility, creativity, and carefully nurtured group dynamic. The science comes from a cycle of planning, observation, and adjustment.
One of the most important things that the facilitator of an autism social skills group can do to lay the groundwork for success is to start by developing observable and measurable goals. These goals should be developed in partnership with the participants caregivers, school support team, and the child himself whenever appropriate.
The social skills groups offered at my practice in Connecticut are based on the results management model. The results management model involves the use of evidence based practices to achieve individual and broad based programmatic goals. The cycle of planning, implementation, and evaluation holds all parties accountable and grows a better program overall.
Even the words "results management model" sound cold and bureaucratic. As a program adds layers of accountability, it is important to always keep the end goal in mind, thriving children. Only facilitators that continue to take genuine joy in the growth and development of the children in the program will get the results they are looking for.
Aaron Weintraub, MS runs child-centered social skills groups with a focus on children and teenagers with Pervasive Developmental Disorder,Asperger Syndrome, High Functioning Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and Shyness. Strengths-based approach in a community based setting. Groups available in Tolland, Mansfield, Willimantic, Hartford, Vernon and Coventry Connecticut.