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Join the North Little Rock Friendship Program

The Friendship Program is a 10-week evidence-based social skills intervention for children (ages 7-12) who are interested in learning ways to help them make and keep friends. The program was developed and researched at UCLA and was adopted by our clinic because of its impressive results.

During each group session teens are taught important social skills and are given the opportunity to practice these skills through modeling, role-play, activities and games. In their simultaneous group, parents are taught how to assist their children in making and keeping friends by providing feedback, coaching, and weekly homework assignments designed to build their skills and network of potential friends. Parents also report benefiting from the support and resources provided by other parents in the group.


Enrollment is limited as we begin each class with 7-9 students. Classes are held on Thursday evenings at Arkansas Families First, and run from 5:15 to 6:15 pm. Regular attendance and parent participation are required.

  • The class is intended for individuals who struggle with various aspects of socialization and friendship making.
  • Children in the program often have Aspergers, High Functioning Autism, social anxiety and/or ADHD.
  • Even though structure, support, and encouragement are of emphasis, in order to participate, children must be able to manage their behavior and communicate well-enough to participate in small group discussion and role-play.
  • A screening session is held prior to the group to prepare children and parents, and to assess their fit for the program.
  • The cost of the screening session $50.00 .
  • The cost of participation in the 10-week program is $300.00, which is $30.00 per week. We ask that families pay prior to the first class.

Phase 1: Social Skills

We start with creating a good foundation of social skills. Students practice, coach, and receiving live feedback from peers on the use of their new skills.

The Basics

Basic socialization skills that are often missed or overlooked by individuals who struggle socially.

Phase 2: Social Landscape

Students learn strategies to broaden their landscape of opportunities to make lasting friendships.

Increasing Strategic Opportunities

Finding peers and peer groups of similar children can be key to building lasting relationships.

Phase 3: Handling Conflict

Students learn skills to tackle some of the most difficult social situations.

Don't Burn the Bridge

Teasing, bullying, conflict and bad reputations make building lasting  friendship even more challenging.

What skills are covered?

  • How to use appropriate conversational skills
  • How to find common interests by trading information
  • How to appropriately use humor
  • How to enter and exit conversations between peers
  • How to handle rejection, teasing, and bullying
  • How to handle rumors 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
Over 100 hundred families have participated in our PEERS and Friends Programs

Want even more information?

To read more about the program, refer to the UCLA Semel Institute website, where the program was developed and is still running. If you’d like to sign up for the program, complete the form on the following link and we’ll contact you to verify your admission as soon as possible.  To speak ask specific questions of the facilitators, contact Dr. Adam Benton through the comment box below.

For a very informative podcast, by Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson, on social skills in teens on the Autism Spectrum, follow this link: Her interview provides a great explanation of why the PEERS program is effective with teens.

(Elizabeth Laugeson, PsyD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and an assistant clinical professor in the department of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. She is the founder and director of the UCLA PEERS Clinic, where the PEERS and Friends programs were developed.) 

The below is a parents guide for the Friendship program. It is very helpful, but not required for the program.

IMG_0340 Friends Forever: How Parents Can Help Their Kids Make and Keep Friends. By Fred Frankel, PhD

Its available at

What Client's Say

This class was worth every penny! Its been a life changer for my child, and for me. He learned skills that immediately helped him cope socially and I loved the support and discussions in the parent group. Thank you!
Anonymous Parent

About Us

Arkansas Families First is a multidisciplinary behavioral health care group that offers a variety of health services for children, teens and families in Central Arkansas. Our group of independently practicing providers strive to provide the best, most comprehensive care that modern psychology, psychiatry, counseling, and other disciplines have to offer.


Arkansas Families First is devoted to unlocking the full potential of children and families. We utilize the latest research and the most skilled providers in the service of improving people’s lives. We strive to empower parents and to integrate multiple disciplines in the building of strong families and healthy children.

Our Promise

We take a strengths-based approach utilizing the latest evidence-based treatments and include parents in all aspects of treatment and assessment. We'll find the service and the provider that best fits your family. With our growing list of clinicians, if you are not satisfied with your provider or services will help you make the necessary changes.