Do you worry that your child doesn’t have friends? We all want our children to be included among peers and to have a group of friends or playmates. As a parent, it is challenging (but natural!) to think of a child left out or excluded from social activities. At Project Play Therapy (and Franklin Speech!), we understand and embrace the fact that social skills come easily to very few people, and that each child blazes their own path socially. That’s what makes our kids so unique! If your child has social-pragmatic difficulties related to autism, apraxia of speech, sensory processing difficulties, language delays, or other social difficulties, a social group setting facilitated by a trained therapist could be beneficial. We are always happy to discuss your child’s needs and can recommend speech or language therapy or a small social group setting.
Our social groups are specifically designed to teach your child appropriate interactions with peers, while creating and maintaining meaningful friendships. Led by licensed therapists, we model and discuss the tools needed to successfully navigate social situations with the goal of these skills carrying over into every day interactions. Our groups are tailored to the specific needs of participants, but they frequently focus on a combination of:
- Making and maintaining friends
- Managing/understanding emotions of self/others
- Conversing on a topic of interest, as well as disinterest
- Eye contact/body language/personal space
- Reciprocity of speech or turn taking
- Understanding figurative language
These topics are even hard for us as adults! So it’s no wonder that our kids might need a little additional exposure to appropriate road maps to social success. No group is the same, and we do our best to match personality, needs, and age among a group of 2 to 4 participants. We find communicating detailed feedback with parents at the end of every session helps solidify a natural bridge of the one-hour sessions (once or twice each week) into every day settings.
Practice makes perfect. Giving your child a safe space to explore appropriate behavior socially with a trained professional just might help… both you and your child. We are here to help!