September 2014

Kids on the Spectrum Do It Their Way

Five young teenage boys meet weekly in a social skills therapy group. The group is discussing "bullying."

Matthew: "I get called nerd and sometimes geek."

Kyle: "I'd use the roundhouse kick first..." (gets up to demonstrate the Tae Kwon Do kick, barely missing Nick's head)

Group Leader (GL) : "Kyle, please sit down. Tell us your idea in words. If you show us your kick, you could hurt one of the group members.  What do the rest of you say and do when a classmate teases you?"  

Kyle: (after taking his seat) "followed by a back kick/side kick        combination."

John: (with a monotone voice) "Jedis don't believe in aggressive behavior. It's not in the code."

Brian: (directing his words to the group leader) "The Jedi order does not like to rush into combat. The Jedi's prefer to wait until called upon for duty."

 Matthew: "I informed Ben that there is no definition for the word "geek" in the dictionary."

 John: "I take a breath and count to five."

Nick: "I am of superior intelligence but I am socially deficient. Some day the boys in my class are going to be working for me. I look forward to that day. In the meantime, I prefer to be by myself, reading."

GL: "John and Brian follow the Jedi's code and pause before responding. In the past, when you have been teased, what have you said or done in response to being teased?"

Social skills groups for teens on the spectrum can be challenging but also extremely rewarding on so many different levels. For many children, a social skills group may be the first place they've ever felt safe and understood by their peers. These children may be aware of being "different" from their classmates, but helpless to make the changes necessary to lead a satisfying social life. Social skills groups offer group members a place to socialize and also to learn new skills, practice give-and-take, and increase sensitivity to others' needs.

It is clear from the snippet of group dialogue above that the boys are comfortable with each other and with their group leader. Perhaps for the very first time, group members can express feelings and idiosyncratic ideas freely without judgment from their peers. Because similarity and common interests are essential hallmarks of friendship, these boys are on their way to developing true friendships with one another.

Let's take a closer look at some of the interpersonal challenges exhibited in the group. Read more

Parents often ask "What is Stepping Stones?"

This video is a brief, but informative explanation from the creator of the program and
 In Step Director, Cathi Cohen.
In Step   Stepping Stones
In Step Stepping Stones


For over two decades, Cathi Cohen's passion has been helping children gain confidence and learn new ways to interact successfully with their peers-in effect, to raise their social IQs. Cathi's newly launched website site offers articles, coaching strategies and resources to help parents raise happier, more socially connected kids.

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