Written by Brianna Fitchett, MA, BCBA, Vice President of Clinical Services, Easterseals Bay Area
Don’t you just love that moment when you’re with your friends experiencing something really fun and memorable – and someone says let’s take a group photo! Click, click, click. A group photo is taken, shared, and tagged in social channels, or later you place it in a frame for your desk at home or work. Each time you look at the photo you reminisce and take pleasure in this memory with your friends.
For our clients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), we recognize how important it is for them to have a place to be with peers, while learning skills and building friendships and happy moments just like this one!
Since October of this year, we’ve been enrolling clients between 4- and 18-years-old in our social skills groups at our clinics around the Bay Area. Clients participate in small groups led by our applied behavior analysis (ABA) Supervisors who teach and reinforce social skills development with a focus on STEAM areas (science, technology, engineering, art, and math).
Our clients learn how to improve their interactions with others by learning conversation skills, recognizing others’ facial expressions and non-verbal cues, and being more aware of their emotions. Activities include building blocks, robotics, art, and board games that help them hone problem-solving skills, inspire creativity, enhance technical skills, and fulfill their passions. You can support the program by giving a gift of education and donating here.
The most rewarding part of these groups is our clients have the opportunity to practice social skills with peers in a safe environment, and be with others with similar interests as them. One of the first steps in forming friendships.