World’s only evidence-based social skills program for teens to launch at LDS this winter

World’s only evidence-based social skills program for teens to launch at LDS this winter

The Learning Disabilities Society (LDS) is always seeking ways to improve our services for kids with learning differences and their families. That is why we are so excited to announce that:

LDS is now certified to offer PEERS®—the only evidence-based teen social skills program in the world

Developed by Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson at the University of California—Los Angeles (UCLA), the Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS®) has been shown to be effective for adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, depression, and socio-emotional issues. (1)

PEERS® is a social skills intervention for motivated teens ages 13-18 and their guardians. After an intake, teens and their parents or caregivers will attend 14 weekly group sessions. Each session will last about an hour and a half. While guardians attend group sessions where they are coached in supporting their teens, youths work with each other in separate, simultaneous sessions to learn and practice important social skills like:

  • entering and exiting a conversation
  • using humour appropriately
  • handling disagreements with friends
  • managing teasing or rejection
  • friendly sportsmanship
  • how to be a good host during get-togethers and other skills (2)

A high degree of commitment from the whole family is important for program success. Studies have shown that “parents can have significant effects upon their child’s friendships, both in terms of direct instruction and supervision, as well as supporting their child’s development of an appropriate peer network.” (3)

Because of the difference that parental involvement makes in youth outcomes, parent participation is required. Participants must attend all sessions, as they cannot be skipped or rescheduled. Additionally, the same parent(s) or guardian(s) should attend each session with their teen. The results are worth the time and effort of participation.

Research studies indicate that PEERS® improves teen social skills and mental health symptoms, as well as family stress levels. (4)

If you are interested in participating in PEERS® with your child, please see our program page for more detailed information and to fill out an application form.

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(1) “The Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS®)” Program Fact Sheet, The Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, David Geffen School of Medicine.
(2) “Social Skills Group For Adolescents” Teen Clinic Flyer, UCLA PEERS® Clinic.
(3) Elizabeth A. Laugeson, Fred Frankel, Catherine Mogil, Ashley R. Dillion, “Parent-Assisted Social Skills Training to Improve Friendships in Teens with Autism Spectrum Disorders,” Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 39 (2009): 597.
(4) Christine T. Moody, Elizabeth A. Laugeson, “Social Skills Training in Autism Spectrum Disorder Across the Lifespan, Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America 29 (2020): 363; Laura L. Corona, Cortney Janicki, Anna Milgramm, Kristin V. Christodulu, “Brief Report: Reductions in Parenting Stress in the Context of PEERS—A Social Skills Intervention for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders (31 Aug 2019), https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-019-04201-y .