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The #1 Most Amazing Benefits of Social Skills Groups Every Parent Should Know

For the Thanksgiving holiday, our Social Skills Group crafted Turkey plates and after completing them the kiddos had a moment of complimenting each other’s art. It was a very sweet moment between the young children because before joining the Social Skills Group they would not say a word or would stay very quiet.

Children learn through observation to engage in social interactions, such as saying “Hello” to others or catching the cues that they need to wait their turn.  However, not all children find it easy to learn social skills. Thus, it may be that a child hasn’t had the environment to learn social skills; perhaps an only child; or a child that grew up more sheltered. It can also be other factors that make it more challenging for a child to learn social skills, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder or other diagnosis.

The deficits in social skills have been even more prevalent in the last 3 years. Many preschools ABA Works’ CEO, Lilyan Campbell, visited over the past 2 months in the South Bay area, shared that ‘Corona children’ have many deficits in communication and social skills. The so-called, ‘Corona children’, are children that were born and grew up during the time of COVID-19 and were part of a lot of isolation. Preschool owners now see the overall challenges in their skills.

Joining a social skills group can be extremely helpful as it is specifically geared to teaching the children social skills. At our ABA Works clinic, located in Lomita in the South Bay (only 10 minutes away from Palos Verdes Estates, Rolling Hills Estates, Hermosa Beach and the nearby beach cities) we provide a unique series of Social Skills Groups (SSG) for all different ages and needs. Through a specialized intake process, we determine what the child’s needs are, and how they can be best grouped with other peers so that they can get the most out of the group.  

For part 1 of this blog post, we are going to dive into discussing what is a Social Skills Group and what makes the SSG group at ABA Works in the South Bay so special.

Social skills groups are small groups led by a professional who teaches the learners how to interact appropriately with others their age. Know that not every SSG provider has a Behavior Analyst or specialist to develop the curriculum, oversee it and lead it. At ABA Works, we provide unique groups, that are developed, and overseen by the Clinical Director (who is also a BCBA and MFT) Lilyan W.J. Campbell.

There are very general SSGs that focus on a standardized curriculum. However, here in the South Bay at ABA Works, we make sure that we create a curriculum that is specifically designed for the group of learners that attend. Even for the very young ones, age 0-4, we make sure that the curriculum matches their developmental needs. For example, we won’t force the 2-year-old to share toys, but we will teach and assist how to functionally play with a toy alongside another peer.

What skills can you think of that you can learn in SSG? To name a few:

  • Reading social cues​
  • Greeting​s
  • Sharing​ and turn taking
  • Maintaining a conversation​
  • Interacting with peers
  • Participating in sports
  • Listening to group instructions
  • Navigating friendships
  • Problem solving skills
  • Empathy​
  • Cooperation
  • And more.

SSG creates opportunities to improve and encourage skills your child will use in their daily life. These skills are encouraged through fun and interactive activities such as arts & crafts, games, and other group activities; many of which are based on the group’s interests.

During SSG, we will also use role-play to teach how to interact in certain social interactions and provide the learner feedback on how they did and what they can do next time. In our South Bay’s Social Skills Group at ABA Works, we have seen a lot of progress in our children’s group and young adult group.

For our children’s group, we have observed an increase in advocating and expressing themselves. It has created continuing friendships between our learners and has also improved the learners’ friendships with their school peers outside of the SSG. In a recent meeting with our SSG parents, they mentioned that they have organized play dates with their children and have gone together to the movie theaters. ABA Work’s Social Skills Training is designed for many fun activities for our young learners and has also been a wonderful opportunity for our parents to be able to meet and connect with each other.

I always have so much fun with the Social Skills Group during the activities we do, such as holiday crafts, easter egg hunting, dinosaur hunting, kite making, show and tell, and more!

For our young adult group at our South Bay Social Skills Training at ABA Works, we provide virtual training as well as in-person. Our online group is currently doing fun break-out rooms where our older learners get to know one another and plan together. In a recent SSG gathering, the older learners planned and decided to have a Jeopardy game of the adolescents versus the staff.

In addition to fun activities, we cover important topics for this age range such as self-advocacy, healthy relationships, turn-taking, appropriate humor, and more. In our past online SSG, we have seen a lot of progress in our older learners advocating, and expressing themselves more, and has created continuing friendships between our learners.

Be ready for part 2 to this blog post, where you will learn about more fun examples of our SSG, and more details about how a SSG gathering is structured and how certain skills are worked on and improved in SSG. Until next time and happy holidays!

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