The UCLA Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relationship Skills (PEERS) is a manualized, social skills training intervention for adolescents and young adults. It includes 14 consecutive weeks of training with both a teen and a parent component which occur simultaneously.

This program has a strong evidence-base for use with teens and young adults with autism spectrum disorders, but may also appropriate for teens and young adults with ADHD, anxiety, depression, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and other socio-emotional problems.

Overview

Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS) is a 14-week evidence-based social skills intervention for motivated teens in the 7th-12th grade who are interested in learning ways to help them make and keep friends. During each group session teens are taught important social skills and are given the opportunity to practice these skills in session through role plays and during real play activities (e.g. playing sports, board games, etc.). Each week there is a "home-work" component in which the teen is encouraged to practice their new skills.

Parents are taught how to assist their teens in making and keeping friends in their group senssion and are expected to provide feedback to their teen through coaching during weekly socialization homework assignments.

What are the participation requirements?
  • Teens who struggle with making and keeping friends
  • Teens in the 7th-12th grade
  • Teens must be interested in the program and attend voluntarily
Topics of Instruction:
  • 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
The Research Says…
  • Increased adolescent social skills and knowledge
  • Increased number and frequency of hosted “get-togethers”
  • Improved overall social skills including: cooperation, assertion and responsibility (parent reported)
  • Improved social responsiveness including: awareness, recognition and communication (parent reported)
  • A trend toward increased overall social skills (teacher reported)
Application process:
  1. If you are interested in participating in a course, and would like more information please contact a person in your local area.
  2. Parents and Professionals can submit a proposal through the existing Social Learning Opportunity Ideas forms located on the website.
  3. Courses will be arranged based on requests and demand.
  4. Considerations will be required for the purposes of forming groups.
Enrollment is limited. Regular attendance is imperative. Parent participation is required.

Autism Ontario staff trained on PEERS:

Provincial:
Marilyn Thompson – 1-800-472-7789 ext. 234 marilyn@autismontario.com

Toronto Region:
Christa Sawyer – 1-800-472-7789 ext. 241; christa@autismontario.com
Yvonne Danyluck- 1-800-472-7789 ext. 240; yvonne@autismontario.com
Kat Buchan- 416-246-9592 ext. 226; kat@autismontario.com

Central West Region (Halton, Burlington, Georgetown):
Elizabeth Mitchell – elizabeth@autismontario.com

Central East Region: (Durham, Peterborough):
Tiffany MacDonald – tiffany@autismontario.com; 905-723-8405

Central East Regio(York/Simcoe):
Jamie Read- jamie@autismontario.com; York 905-780-1590 ext. 102 & Simcoe 705-252-7429 ext. 101

Southwestern Region (London, Huron Perth):
Alicia Romain-519-433-3390;alicia@autismontario.com;

Southwestern Region (Sarnia, Chatham, Windsor);
Kathleen Foubister – 519-250-9410 kathleen@autismontario.com

Niagara & Hamilton Region:
LB Brown –905-682-2776- lb@autismontario.com

Northern Region (ThunderBay & SSM):
Loni Rudnicki –807-622-9713- loni@autismontario.com;

Eastern & Southeastern Region (Ottawa, Kingston):
Marnie Potter – marnie@autismontario.com

Provincial French Language Services:
Suzanne Murphy – rpcprovincial@autismontario.com

Autism Ontario has also provided PEERS training to 50 staff at various agencies across the province; inquire with your local service provider.
 
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USA Today: Class Helps Autistic Teens Refine Social Skills













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