Adult Social Learning Programs
What Groups Are Offered?
We currently have an adult group program for ages 18-26. It meets at our Encino office twice a month for 2.5hrs each session. The group combines time in an office setting with community-based activities, including going out to local restaurants for dinner.
What Occurs During Sessions?
Members discuss difficult or troubling events in their lives as well as effective ways to cope with challenging situations. One of the biggest advantages that a group modality has over individual treatment is that it affords the opportunity to hear how others have dealt with similar situations. It can also be extremely helpful to have the support of others when difficult times arise. We use a variety of approaches including discussions, role-playing, video-recording, computer animation, going out in the community, group projects, and other exercises designed to make treatment more engaging and effective.
Meeting twice per month for extended time periods has been useful; it allows participants to engage in more in-depth levels of socialization. Extended meetings also allow for more reserved group members to have some time to “warm up” before engaging with others.
Adults must be capable of coming to appointments independently, other than transportation assistance.
They must be safe in community settings, i.e., able to remain with the group and compliant with the group leaders directives (e.g., waiting at street lights until it is safe to cross).
The group visits restaurants each session. Attendees must be able to order, with assistance if needed, without engaging in disruptive behavior.
No violence or threats to others or incidents of property damage or running away, wandering off, within the past year.
Typically, individuals who have intellectual disabilities or moderate to severe developmental disabilities are not an appropriate match for this program. A reading level of sixth grade or better is usually required for most activities. Individuals may have learning deficits, mild autism (Asperger’s), and generally require assistance in the areas of executive function and pragmatic skills.
Clients who have problems with substance abuse are considered on a case-by-case basis.
Main Core Areas
The main focus of the adult groups includes the following six skill areas:
Executive Functioning, including: paying attention, planning, organizing, self- monitoring, self-regulation, working memory, successful coping strategies, and accepting feedback.
Pragmatic Language, including: effective conversations, knowing what to say and when to say it, speaking in a manner that fits the social situation, adjusting language usage to the audience being addressed, and giving brief and concise responses.
Social Competence, including: reading social cues, perspective-talking, remaining on
topic, knowing when to join a discussion, and modulating voice levels for different situations.
Academic/Vocational Readiness, including: remaining still/seated, written and oral
comprehension, group projects/exercises, focusing on the task or conversation, effective hand-raising, and recognizing appropriate conversation topics and social boundaries for school or workplace.
Daily Living, including: basic nutritional understanding, recognizing the importance of sufficient sleep and hygiene-related behaviors, trying new foods, and appropriate restaurant behavior.
Environmental Awareness, including: pedestrian safety, effective behavior in community settings such as restaurants and markets, and knowing what is safe or dangerous in the community and taking appropriate precautions.
Below is some of the feedback we received from adult group members when we reviewed how 2016 went for them.
Many of our adults have told us that they have made new friends both in and outside of the group since participating in the program.
Some now feel comfortable asking for a phone number to stay in touch with someone.
Many have told us that their conversational skills have improved and they can now initiate exchanges with others, adeptly jump into a conversation, monitor and modify their voice volume where appropriate, and recognize when to include others who may be left out.
Other group members have shared that they know when to let go of a topic and move on to the next.
Some of the group members shared that they have become more successful in academic and vocational arenas.
Some are going to job interviews and feeling comfortable and prepared, while other have been able to go back to school after taking a “gap year” or needing to drop a class, and some reported that they feel more comfortable speaking up in class.
Others have began volunteer programs, and some have entered the dating world.
Some have improved their time management skills, specifically with regard to studying for and passing their driver’s permit exam and preparing for their driver’s license.
Some have shared that they are more aware of their surroundings and others have noted that the dinner outings have helped them practice quick decision making, ordering skills, and planning and budgeting.