Social Skills Groups

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Come to The Arc Summer 2015!

012During the summer of 2013 the first holiday social skills groups ran at Braeside Education Centre in Devizes. 2014 saw another summer of fun and friendship skills at the Arc.

Dates: 17th to 21st August 2015
The format: The children will attend for 3 hours in the morning or afternoon over 5 days in one week. There is the opportunity this year for parents/carers to come in towards the end of the week and find out with others about what has been happening and to share experiences.
The aims: At all times the children will be supported to interact, to employ skills of social interaction, sharing, negotiation, and acceptance, and to practise conversation skills at the level of their age and ability.
The location: Braeside  is a well-known location for school groups, especially for courses in outdoor education. Many children from Wiltshire schools will already be familiar with the staff and the set-up.
The cost: £260 for 5 sessions to include an outdoor activity run by experienced Braeside staff.

784The week will include:

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  • lots of group-work
  • lots of thinking about the skills needed for working in a group and sustaining friendships
  • opportunities for the children to play together outside and inside
  • creative activities, such as building a model, a drama or art project
  • a snack break
  • an outdoor activity such as survival skills or low / high ropes
  • with lots of variety in the content to keep it interesting and fun.





[accordion] [acc_item title=”Who is it for?”]
The Arc2014 039Children who find it difficult to interact socially. Children who need structured teaching of social conventions. Children who would benefit from the opportunity to practise these under the guidance of an experienced speech and language therapist. This might include children who have received diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Asperger syndrome, Selective Mutism, or Social Communication Disorder. Children who have social difficulties without a diagnosis would still be suitable. In general your child will need to be verbal and also independent in self-care needs.[/acc_item]

[acc_item title=”What ages are catered for?”]Children who have participated to date have been between the ages of 5 and 11. It is worth getting in touch if you have an older child who might benefit – if there was enough interest we could run a group to meet their needs. Children would be matched according to age, ability and need. Inclusion in the groups would depend upon whether there are other children who would fit with your child and whether the groups could meet your child’s needs.[/acc_item] [acc_item title=”Who will support the children?”]797Rachel Smith, Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, will run the groups with support from experienced adults.[/acc_item]

[acc_item title=”How do I find out more?”]To find out about costs, availability and to express an interest in groups this summer – or in the future – please contact Rachel on[/acc_item] [acc_item title=”Aims”]

The first aim is that the children feel  Safe, Happy, Included, Listened to and Liked – ‘SHILL’ -within this social environment. And then………… [list type=”check”]

  • The Arc2014 084that the children have positive peer interactions, make links and possibly friendships with other children;
  • that the children learn skills that they are able to use, not only in this environment at this time, but in other settings and sustained over time;
  • that parents gain some support and information and potentially links with other parents.

[/list]   It is also important………. that the children have FUN![/acc_item] [acc_item title=”Development over time”]
aug2013 183We also have plans to develop the groups in holidays to come; for example to include other disciplines, such as drama therapy, and to increase the parent-support component.[/acc_item] [acc_item title=”Feedback”]aug2013 066Parent feedback from other social skills groups has been positive. Parents often report specific changes after the groups that Rachel has run – in terms of a particular behaviour or behaviours / friendships / parent support. Please see the What People Say page for comments from those whose children have attended the groups.[/acc_item]

[acc_item title=”The research evidence”]818The organisation Research Autism has recently evaluated research into this kind of intervention. This is what they have said:

“There is a considerable amount of strong positive evidence to suggest that social skills groups may help some children and young people on the autism spectrum practice and improve a range of social skills. There is much less evidence for any benefit for adults on the autism spectrum.

Social skills groups are most likely to benefit children and young people on the autism spectrum with average or above average IQ and with existing language skills. They may also be most appropriate for children and young people who actively wish to socialise and whose anxiety levels and behaviour are manageable in situations that involve several people at once.

However care should be taken to teach practical skills that children and young people actually want rather than abstract social refinements that other people think autistic people should have. Autistic children and young people should be taught multiple skills in situations that reflect real experiences and real settings as this is likely to be of more value to them than being taught isolated skills out of context.

There is a need for more research involving larger, controlled studies of social skills training groups. These should seek to differentiate more clearly between the different types of social skills groups and the different elements within each programme, should investigate socially relevant and useful skills in realistic settings, and should include adults as well as children and young people.”

See the following link for studies that were evaluated: Reseach Autism Studies

Models for social skills groups vary considerably and so it is important to remember that any research is looking at a particular social skills group model and cannot speak for all models.[/acc_item] [/accordion]


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