Social Skills ProgramCost: $325.00 - 8-week program
Registration for the Spring 2014 session will open on Monday, December 16.
The Kinney Center's Social Skills Program helps children with high-functioning autism develop essential communication and social skills so that they can improve relationships with family members, teachers, therapists, and peers. Specifically, the program aims to increase social motivation, or the desire to interact with others; initiation of social interaction, such as approaching others, making eye contact, and saying hello; and appropriate social responses, such as answering questions, taking turns, and exchanging salutations. Instruction will also emphasize generalization of skills across different settings, and long-term maintenance of skills after the program's end. The program uses the principles of applied behavior analysis, including modeling, role-play, motivational systems, and systematic prompt fading.
Upon acceptance into the program, parents/guardians must complete a survey of each applicant's existing social skills and desired reinforcers. The Kinney Center staff will review the survey, determine goals, and develop lesson plans to teach skills. Children will receive an individualized program plan specific to their social needs. Throughout the session, the staff will collect data to monitor progress and modify lessons if needed.
Participants will receive direct 1:1 instruction in small groups according to their age and objectives. Opportunities for generalization across different staff members will be provided.
Age Groups 11-14 and 15-22 also offer opportunities for children to interact with neurotypical peers that facilitate age appropriate social interactions.
Parent involvement is key to participants' success. Parents are encouraged to work on targeted skills between the weekly classes to promote skill generalization and maintenance. They should ensure that participants complete homework assigned after each weekly class. At program completion, families will receive a report on their child's progress toward all goals.
Saint Joseph's University students (SCHOLARS) staff the Social Skills Program. They are trained and supervised by a certified behavior analyst and a licensed psychologist.
Social skills groups are offered in eight-week sessions. Classes meet once a week for one hour. Meeting times vary according to age group.
Due to the educational component of the Kinney Center, at various times, students enrolled in the autism minor or certificate program will be observing Kinney Center programs as part of their coursework.
In the case of inclement weather where a program must be canceled, sessions will not be made up due to time and space restrictions.
Please note that this program can accommodate a limited number of participants. At this time, individuals who exhibit severe behavioral problems, such as aggression, or have significant intellectual disabilities cannot participate in the program. If enrollment limits are reached, applicants may be placed on a waiting list. Upon acceptance into the program, the fee of $325.00 must be paid two weeks prior to the program start date to guarantee a child's spot in the program. A limited number of financial assistance scholarships are available to families with financial need, subject to approval. The Kinney Center also offers a "sibling discount" to families with more than one child enrolled in the same program.