We are currently not running social skills groups for 2019 and 2020. See below for more information for future groups.
Social skills are complex: they include using age-appropriate social language in a variety of contexts as well as interpreting non-verbal cues (such as facial expressions, tone of speech and body language). Interacting with peers necessitates an understanding of how to initiate, maintain, and end conversations and how to play appropriately.
At Manhattan Letters, we work on social skills, also known as social thinking or social cognition, with children from toddler-age to adolescent. We provide social skills group and even one-on-one instruction. For some students, working one-on-one helps to first grasp these social skills, and for preschoolers, one-on-one helps facilitate their play skills, which is so important for socialization. Individual therapy uses language games, pretend and imaginary play, problem solving, video and role-playing to improvise social scenarios in a safe, fun environment. This therapy often transitions into group therapy. In group therapy there is a structure, however interactions are often spontaneous and explicit feedback is given. Family involvement is strongly encouraged for group and one-on-one sessions.
We incorporate aspects of the Social Thinking curriculum, which involves becoming more aware of a conversation partners’ intent and thoughts. Therapy also addresses conversation skills, such as learning how to avoid conversation “killers,” dealing with interruptions, initiating and maintaining a conversations, as well as how to best work in groups. We work with both quiet and verbose students, and we strive to increase the students’ awareness of expected and unexpected social behaviors. We provide strategies and techniques to improve each child’s social awareness and interaction skills.
Our social skills groups are carefully screened and matched by social/emotional skills, age, children’s interests, and availability. In other words when planning our social skills groups, it’s a dynamic process: we only form a group when the students are matched appropriately. All of our groups are run by a licensed speech language therapist, who has special training and professional experience working on developing social skills. For younger children, we use play-based learning and embed social goals within each activity. Goals are presented in a variety of activities, thereby increasing an understanding of each skill. Parent involvement is a plus, to help carry over what is learned in session.