Yes, we are still offering Social Skills Groups during COVID-19
Now Enrolling For Online Social Skills Groups!
The team at Knippenberg, Patterson, Langley and Associates have been working tirelessly to bring our research-based, social-skills groups to an online platform. We are very encouraged with the positive feedback we have received about our adapted online model. Here are some changes we’ve made to allow for maxium benifit and the highest saftey should we beable to conduct groups online.
Reduced Group Size
Typically, our groups consist of 12 children. Starting June 1, 2020, the groups will be redesigned with six children per group, meeting weekly for 90 minutes or twice-weekly for 45 minutes depending on the group. The smaller number creates flexibility, and in-depth personalization for group members. This structure allows for meeting on our encrypted Zoom platform or if deemed safe, we will be able to meet in-person while still being cautious and practicing social distancing.
Consistency is very important in our groups, but we also recognize that taking breaks is equally as important. We have adapted an open-enrollment model allowing for group participants to enter groups and take breaks where necessary. We’ve also increased the allowed excused absence rate to eight.
Redefining of Social and Emotional Goals
Typical group activities have been replaced with finding innovative ways to connect with group members online, deepen mental awareness and work through new challenges. Group members have found groups a place to let go of many of the frustrations experienced in their new daily routines and through the group model members have offered incredible support to one another.
Addressing Depression, Anxiety and Isolation
As summer quickly approaches, we believe that children who struggle to make or keep friends may feel increased isolation, depression and anxiety as school adjourns for the summer. For many children school is their only source of connection beyond social media. Our online format has been designed to address these very needs.
For many children, the group members have formed meaningful friendships with each other, which has helped alleviate the feeling of loneliness many socially isolated kids are experiencing. They also practice how to build healthy social connections online and work through conflicts, which we’ve found is common when living an online life.
Maintaining Connection as Social-Distancing Lifts
Social distancing for children who already struggle with social-skills or an emotional disorder has the propensity to create further difficulties once we return to a normal state. In addition, social-skills are very much needed, even in a time of social distancing. How we interact in our Zoom rooms and Google Classrooms is very important. Even though we are not face-to-face, ensuring eye contact and showing we are listening and practicing empathy still exists. During this unprecedented time, social connection has is an even greater need, even if it’s online.
In the young-adult groups, many teens have faced the idea of putting their college or future plans on hold and are felling a sense of loss. The supported environment has been an opportunity for members to relate to each other and regroup to find new opportunities. We are also seeing an increasing number of children and teens needing support as they deal with on-going anxiety and depression.
Socialization groups are goal driven and results oriented for children experiencing difficulty in with their social skills. Groups are for children kindergarten through young adult. Socialization Groups help teach age-specific social skills. During the group we address issues such as making friends, handling and expressing frustrations, improving self-confidence and self-concept, and cooperation with peers and adults.
Groups have been designed for children and teens that experience the following:
- Acting-out or withdrawing in social situations
- Poor self-image
- Non-Verbal Learning Disorder
- Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD)
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Children who need practice in social situations.
Group members participate in structured, creative activities designed to deal with self-image and symptomatic behaviors such as teasing, fighting, inappropriate silliness, and failure to participate in activities. Group discussions, role-plays, and exercises illustrate concepts such as cooperation, sharing, teamwork, handling teasing, non-verbal appreciation, and the awareness of feelings. Through consistent coaching, group facilitators use positive reinforcement, cognitive restructuring, and the modeling of appropriate social interaction to facilitate self-awareness and behavioral changes in group members.
Due to the specialized nature of our social/emotional development groups, an initial no-cost evaluation session is offered to parents and students whose presenting issues fall within the treatment range for our unique model. For students whose presenting problems fall outside this range, or for those who present with more significant difficulties, we will offer a more appropriate referral within or outside of our practice.
Two additional evaluations are offered at no charge to parents throughout the group enrollment to evaluate progress, goals, and challenges.