Friendship Club – Practice Social Thinking in a Group Setting
Friendship Club groups at Child Success Center are developmentally based and designed to give children an opportunity to practice social interactions with therapeutic intervention and coaching.
For some children, friendships are difficult to make- and even harder to maintain. Friendship Club groups are developmentally based and designed to give children an opportunity to practice successful social interactions with therapeutic staff intervention and coaching. Friendship Club uses positive reinforcement to help children stay motivated to join a group plan, be flexible with their ideas, and stick with social situations that are challenging. Once a child has practice with positive social interactions, their confidence builds. Children are able to join groups easier, transition to and from activities, share their feelings effectively, and problem solve with their friends in order to create meaningful and long lasting friendships. We use the Social Thinking® curriculum to support social skills concepts, role play, engage in group games, and use art projects to facilitate social interaction. We use unstructured play in order to create scenarios similar to those children encounter at school, parties, and play dates in order to socially coach children through big feelings and conflicts.
The goal of Friendship Club is for children to increase their confidence and positive behavior skills to generalize to the home and school setting. Rome was not built in a day, and the same goes for children’s social skills. In this social skills based program, children benefit from being given the opportunity to practice effective communication in a supportive environment. Educating the adults in the child’s life, and using the same social vocabulary in group, at home, and at school helps generalize the desired behavior changes and social interactions. Friendship Club members are physically active and challenged in a sensory gym environment, while being given a social skills curriculum that addresses both social needs and behaviors that may impede successful peer relationships.
It is the job of childhood to learn how to play and interact successfully. Friendship Club uses external motivation, a token economy system, to grow and learn positive social skills. Members “earn” Friendship Tokens they can use to “shop” in our prize bin at the end of each session. Over time, the need for external motivation decreases as the new habits increase and social reciprocity is achieved.
Summer is an excellent time to help foster the social growth of your child, especially for those moving from a pre-school to Kindergarten, or from Kindergarten to First Grade. The Child Success Center offers Friendship Club on weekends through the summer to help children and families stay on track with their social learning.