The PEERS Program in North Little Rock, AR
Program for the Educational Enrichment of Relationship Skills (PEERS)
The PEERS Program, or the Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills, is a 12-week evidence-based social skills intervention for motivated teens in middle or high school (ages 13-18) 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 teens 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 9-11 students. Classes are held on Tuesday evenings at Arkansas Families First, and run from 5:15 to 6:45 pm. Regular attendance and parent participation are required. Click here for a PEERS Program Flyer.
The class is intended for individuals who struggle with various aspects of socialization and friendship making.
Teens 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, teens 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 teens and parents and to assess their fit for the program.
The cost of the screening session $50.00 .
The cost of participation in the 12-week program is $360.00, which is $30.00 per week. We ask that families pay prior to the first class.
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
Teens meet weekly to learn and practice new interpersonal skills. Each group includes a brief lesson, followed by structured practice through modeling and role-play scenarios. Teens provide coaching and support to one another, helping to further their skills. The atmosphere is supportive and fun for all involved.
While the teens are meeting to learn new skills, parents meet weekly to learn ways to coach, challenge and teach good interpersonal skills to their teens. The parents' group provides support and parenting strategies to help with many of the challenges parents of teens face. This is a very important, required component to the PEERS program. Participants often find it very reassuring and helpful to be surrounded by a group of adults dealing with similar parenting challenges. The atmosphere is supportive and casual, and no one is pressured to speak up or participate.
Once per month PEERS hosts a get together that is open to all current and past PEERS participants. Usually, between 5 and 20 teens attend. Events are held at a rotation of local venues including Arkansas Families First, Millennium Bowling Alley, Retro Arcade, Painting with Twist and others. Expect pizza, games and a good time making friends while also putting using the skills learned in the PEERS program. Its a safe, fun opportunity to practice skills and make friends. Events are typically held on Wednesday nights, from 5:30 to 7:30 and interested parents often gather at a nearby restaurant for food, drinks and fellowship.
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!
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: http://www.apa.org/research/action/speaking-of-psychology/autistic-teens.aspx. 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 PEERS program. It is very helpful, but not required for the program.
|The Science of Making Friends, (w/DVD): Helping Socially Challenged Teens and Young Adults by Elizabeth Laugeson|