Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the questions that we have been asked most frequently.  If you prefer to read them all at once, click below to view a PDF file of this information.However, you're welcome to ask additional questions by contacting us. You may call at 818-788-2100 or click here to use our secure contact form. 

What is the process for Regional Center clients to join the adult group program?

  • Contact your CSC and let them know that you are interested in the Encino Adult LUNCH Groups program
  • If they agree to funding for you, your CSC will contact our office and give us an approval for assessment.
  • Our office will contact you to make an assessment appointment.
  • After the assessment appointment, if we think that this program may be a good fit for you, we will let you know and also contact your CSC and let them know as well.
  • Your CSC will send us approval for treatment; once this is received our office will contact you and let you know when you can begin attending group.

I am an 18 year old adult, but I'm currently in High School, is this program right for me?

The adult program is limited to individuals who have completed high school. Under some conditions, we will consider 18 year olds in our Teen Group. Look under School Year or Summer Programs for details.

What is the materials fee and why is there one?

All families pay a materials fee. However, for private pay, this is incorporated into their total fees. Families who are funded by their Regional Center pay the materials fee, which they have determined to be a client expense. It covers going out to appetizers, dinners, and outings.

If my child misses a group a group do they still have to pay the materials fee for that meeting?

Yes, because the material fees covers more than just the dinner that clients miss for that evening.

My son or daughter doesn’t really want to attend, can you convince them?

For the adult program, they must want to come. The more motivated the individual is, the more likely it is to help them with what they see to be a challenge.

My adult child says she won't attend any "social skills" program such as yours.

For the adult program, they must want to come. The more motivated the individual is, the more likely it is to help them with what they see to be a challenge.

Most social skills programs have "lessons" and "homework." Does LUNCH Groups®?

We do not "teach" social skills. Instead, after evaluating the group of children who will participate in our program, we set up situations that help them learn more effective ways of interacting with peers, managing their emotions in a social setting, learning to handle disappointment, and learning how to make, and keep, friends. Our use of technology and engaging activities keeps them motivated and interested plus allows them to practice behaviors in the office that would not easily be possible out in the community. We have multiple motivating reward systems that are largely based upon peer acknowledgement and status (for example, one peer might encourage another to try a new food, saying: "Remember, you'll probably earn a Hero Ticket."). Finally, we use peer and participant modeling, which can be very effective in helping children learn in indirect, non-threatening ways.

My child is highly gifted. I am worried about him picking up bad habits from less capable individuals. How do you address this?

Two-thirds of the world is average when it comes to intellectual prowess. Intelligence isn't always accompanied by sound, mature judgement and a set of social skills that will advance one social and in their occupation or career. I have know countless highly gifted, underemployed and unemployed individuals who do not develop useful social skills. This costs them friends, job opportunities, and ultimately money and happiness. Learning how to use one's intellect is a powerful gift as well as knowing how to be kind to others. In our program, we accept a wide range of individuals and take care to develop a group where each of them can provide some level of support to others.

Will I be able to receive regular updates about how my adult child is doing?

Because they are legally adults, they must sign a release of information to allow us to speak with a parent.

My adult child is very shy and quiet. How can this help him?

Shyness is what we consider to be an "internalizing behavior." Our approach for helping these adults is quite different than for individuals who do not have significant levels of shyness. Initially we just want them to observe others, and when will be have them practice social skills, even if it makes them uncomfortable. Socially anxious don't always evidence obvious signs of their level of discomfort. We work to gradually help them confront their anxiety while participating in group activities, monitoring their level of anxiety during this time.

Where do I park my car during group sessions?

Paid parking is available in the building or there may be parking nearby. It is important to not that there is no on street parking due to traffic restrictions during the time that group meets.

Do I need to stay the entire session?

It is best to stay the 2.5 hours. If for some reason you need to come in late or leave early, it is best to let us know in advance. It is fairly rare for an adult to leave group early, but we can be accommodating in case something urgent comes up.

What do I do if I am running late or if I will be absent?

Call the office and let us know 818-788-2100.

How many total sessions are there?

This is an ongoing program. People may leave for various reasons throughout the year. We request that group members give two sessions notice after they have been attending the program for six months. At minimum, we request that a member attend a final session to have a chance to say goodbye to others.

I don't know if this is right for me? How can I decide?

Once group members have been assessed, they are asked to give the program a four session trial. If, after that period of time, you decide not to continue, we ask that you let the others know that you plan to stop.

How many total sessions are there?

If I take a break from the group, can I return to the same group? This would depend on how long you have taken a break and if we have current openings in the same program. Before rejoining you may require a re-assessment to ensure that the group is a good fit for you and determine goals.

I have decided to stop group. What do I need to do?

Let the group leader know. You can email or call. We like for group members to attend a last group meeting to say goodbye to others.

I am a regional center client and my funding has ended. What do I do if I would like to continue?

Speak with the adult group leader and they will assist you in the process.