The Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS®) was originally developed at UCLA by Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson, Founder and Director of the UCLA PEERS® Clinic, and Dr. Fred Frankel. “PEERS® is a manualized, social skills training intervention for youth with social challenges. It has a strong evidence-base for use with adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorder but is also appropriate for adolescents and young adults with ADHD, anxiety, depression, and other socioemotional problems.” (//www.semel.ucla.edu/peers)
Students will learn how to:
Use appropriate conversational skills
Find common interests by trading information
Appropriately use humor
Handle rejection, teasing, and bullying
Be a good host during get-togethers
Choose appropriate friends
This is not the kind of social group you and your child may have experienced in the past, but rather a classroom setting in which to teach students the skills to make and keep friends and find their own friend group based on common interests. PEERS is a 16-week class that meets in the west end of Henrico. Classes are approximately an hour-and-a-half.
Holly Roper, M.A. is a resident in mental health counseling and Barbara Simeroth, M.S. Ed. has been an educator working with both neurotypical and neurodiverse students in public and private schools for over two decades. In addition, Holly and Barbara are both UCLA PEERS certified providers (See Barbara’s here & See Holly’s here).
If you’d like to read more about PEERS you may find information by clicking here.
Click here for the story that recently ran on NPR regarding the PEERS pilot program that Barbara began in Richmond.
Click here for a story about PEERS from the eyes of a student.
Students begin and end the 16-week program together. A social coach (usually a parent) is required to attend with the student. While Barbara teaches, Holly meets with the social coaches to instruct, problem solve and encourage.
Students are given weekly “homework,” which is to be completed. For example, the first week’s homework is to have a phone conversation, trade information and try to find a common interest.