Peer Modeling Social Skills

Peer modeling provides children with the opportunity to learn social skills from typically developing peers through games and activities. Lessons are designed so that children learn while they play and observe the proper behavior of others. Through structured play sessions led by trained professionals, children are able to practice and acquire social skills pertaining to pragmatic language, friendship, self-esteem, and overall socio-emotional development.

After assessing your child's skills and determining which skill sets are to be targeted in the program, we will carefully develop lessons tailored to your child's specific language ability and learning style. Our goal is to create an effective program that will allow your child and his or her peer to have fun while they learn. After all, having fun is a child's number one priority! The more your child enjoys each session, the more receptive he or she will be to social learning, and the more efficient the skill acquisition process will become.

In addition to cultivating the skills necessary to develop and maintain friendships, our programming will also focus on working cooperatively with others and generalizing these skills to the home, classroom, and community. Children can experience a boost in self-confidence from even the tiniest of improvements; working effectively as part of a group is important in everything from school projects to team sports. We work closely with parents to assist them in fostering the generalization process.

Your child's programming is customized to fit his or her unique needs. Listed below are some of the social skill areas you can expect to see improvement:

* Attending Skills (Eye Contact, Responding to others)

* Language and Communication Skills

* Conversation Skills

* Friendship Skills

* Play Skills

* Social Etiquette (Greetings, Manners, Compliments)

* Nonverbal Communication and Body Language

* Empathy and Emotions

* Perspective Taking

* Conflict Resolution

* Giving and Following Directions

* Reading Social Cues & Social Problem Solving

Peer modeling will improve your child’s ability to make and keep friends, express themselves appropriately, have empathy towards others, and develop self-confidence.

What makes peer modeling so effective?

Our peer modeling program teaches social skills in a scaffolding approach, with each layer building upon the previous ones. This technique not only allows us to solidify basic skills before focusing on the more difficult ones, but also ensures that previously acquired skills will not be lost during the course of the learning process. Our approach utilizes the techniques found in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) with an emphasis on B.F. Skinner's analysis of verbal behavior. We employ errorless learning and positive reinforcement strategies to ensure that your child maintains his or her confidence throughout the learning process.

Your child's peer modeling program is constantly being evaluated in both teaching approaches and reinforcement techniques via the utilization of data collection. We strive to address any and all variables affecting the learning process in order to optimize skill acquisition and maintenance.

What makes peer modeling different from social skills groups?

The peer modeling program is individualized to the child and targets his or her specific social skill deficits until mastery. The curriculum is more comprehensive than our theme-based social skills groups and is entirely customized to the child's individual learning style. Peer modeling is best suited for children who have many skills to acquire, or who may not yet possess enough of a skill base to effectively participate in groups. In some cases, children may benefit from participating in both a peer modeling program and a social skills group at the same time, allowing them to develop and hone skills in a one-on-one setting and then directly apply them in a real-life group situation.

How will you keep my child interested in peer modeling?

You will be presented with a Preference Inventory for your child that will identify his or her likes and dislikes, allowing us to focus on activities that interest them. In addition, you may have direct knowledge of incentives that are effective in motivating your child, such as stickers, toys, or snacks.

Our therapists a re trained to utilize positive behavioral reinforcement to promote attentive participation and rule compliance. However, for many children, this reinforcement is secondary to the enjoyment derived from playing with a friend and having fun.

What are the logistics of peer modeling social skills training?

Peer modeling sessions takes place in our Wall Township office. Sessions can be one hour, ninety minutes, or two hours in length. This flexibility in session length allows parents the opportunity to fit their schedules and financial means.

Peer modeling is most commonly administered once per week for a ninety minute or two hour session. Parents who wish to move their children at a faster pace may opt for two peer modeling sessions per week or one peer modeling session and one social skills group, depending on which option better suits the child's needs.

How do I find a peer model?

Any sibling, relative, or friend can serve as a peer model, even if they're not the same age or gender as your child. We will work with you to find an appropriate peer model and provide them with the tools necessary to fulfill their model role during games and structured play activities. Our therapists will provide continuous guidance to the peer as needed, though most children will instinctively fill this role through their normal social interactions and play habits.

How do I get started with a peer modeling program?

If you’d like to begin a peer modeling program 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 and discuss your child’s needs.

Please see our FAQ section for additional information about our programs.