How do I know if my child needs help with social skills?

Think about your child in relation to the questions below. Ask yourself, “Does my child…”

* Have difficulty making or maintaining friendships?

* Have trouble acting appropriately in social situations?

* Shy away from his peers and frequently play alone rather than with another child?

* Lack respect for a peer’s personal space?

* Have difficulty initiating, maintaining, or ending a conversation?

* Interrupt or talk too long during a conversation?

* Avoid eye contact during a conversation?

* Have difficulty identifying his or her feelings as well as the feelings of others?

* Have trouble interpreting the nonverbal cues of others?

Which social skills group is best for my child?

We offer social skills groups for children ages 5-8 and teens ages 13-19. Groups are formed when there are three or more children of similar age, level of development, and cognitive ability who are interested in participating. During the application process your child will be screened and assessed to determine which group is best for their specific needs. Some children may benefit from individual therapy or counseling to build group readiness skills before engaging in a group setting.

How long will my child need to attend?

Unlike other social skills models with curricula of fixed duration, our social skills groups are ongoing and run continuously with rolling admission and graduation. Our goal is the same for every child – success! Mastery and generalization of skills varies from child to child, as everyone learns at their own unique pace. Children will practice and rehearse new pro-social behaviors until they can transfer these acquired skills from our group to their natural social environment.

The group facilitator communicates frequently with parents to monitor success and determine when the child is ready to graduate. Though you may withdraw your child at any time, we recommend at least a twelve week commitment. Repetition is the cornerstone of any learning process, and is particularly important in cultivating a strong foundation of social and behavioral skills.

What are some of the social skills that will improve with therapy?

We will identify which social skills are most important for your child and develop programs to address those skills. The skills we teach include, but are not limited to the following:

Attending - Language and Communication - Conversation - Friendships - Play

Social Etiquette - Nonverbal Communication - Emotions - Perspective Taking

Conflict Resolution - Giving and Following Directions - Reading Social Cues

Social Problem Solving

How do you know what skills my child needs to learn?

Parents will initially be provided with a Skill Evaluation form where you will check off the individual skills you have identified as needing remediation. If your child has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), we can review the goals and objectives section for any potential areas that need targeting. The information provided in your application will also help us paint a picture of your child’s particular strengths and weaknesses, allowing us to customize a learning approach. Once all of the information has been reviewed, we will ask you a series of questions about your child and discuss your concerns. Based on the information obtained, we will determine what social skills to teach and in what order. We will also determine which therapy option is best for your child. As we work with your child weekly and get to know him well, we may observe additional skill needs and will recommend programming as necessary.

How is my child’s progress measured?

We collect data throughout each program to measure your child’s progress and adapt his or her therapy accordingly. Objectives for each lesson are clearly defined and evaluated using Data Decision Analysis, which allows us to identify patterns, make data-driven decisions, and modify delivery of instruction as necessary. Evidence has shown that data collection is vital in quantifying a child’s advancement and a necessary component of any social skills program. It also allows us to keep parents informed of their child’s progress in each skill area.

Does my child need to be on the autism spectrum in order to benefit from a social skills program?

Children with Autism, Asperger's syndrome, PDD-NOS, ADHD, and Social Communication Disorder typically have social skill deficits and will benefit from social skills therapy. However, therapy is also appropriate for children without a formal diagnosis of special needs. Many children have developmental delays and need assistance in order to progress. Others have difficulties with friendships, social conversation, play skills, and lack self-confidence. These children often "slip through the cracks" and aren't provided the extra help they need to be fully social with their peers. Our varied programs can address all of these issues. We will work with you to determine which therapy modality is most appropriate for your child.

Is this program appropriate for my child?

We are presently accepting children, teens, and adults for groups and counseling. After speaking with you and reviewing the information you provide about your child's needs, we will determine whether any of our programs are appropriate. We may find that there are prerequisite skills required that need remediation before your child engages in one of our programs. If your child exhibits aggressive behavior, we would like to wait until this behavior has been minimized before enrollment. The safety and well-being of your child, his or her peer, and the other children in our groups is of the utmost importance to us. In addition, children who frequently “meltdown” in tears may not be ready to derive the maximum benefit from our program and may require individual counseling to develop coping and self-soothing skills.

In what areas of New Jersey are your services offered?

All of our services are offered in-person at our Wall Township locations in Monmouth County. However, teletherapy services for child & adult counseling are available to New Jersey residents who live outside of the area or have trouble commuting due to physical limitations or disabilities. (Teletherapy is currently unavailable for teen counseling or social skills programs.)

Do you accept insurance?

By Design Social Skills LLC is an out-of-network, fee-for-service company and does not accept insurance. However, your services may be covered in full or in part by your health insurance company depending on your benefits plan. We will provide you with a detailed invoice containing procedure and diagnosis codes to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. Please contact your provider to determine what out-of-network benefits you may be entitled to.

How do I start my child in a social skills program?

If you’d like to begin one of our programs or would just like more information, please call, email or fill out the contact form in the Contact Us section. We’d be happy to answer your questions, discuss your child's needs, and set up an appointment.