Children’s Friendship Training

Children’s Friendship Training is a 10-week, evidence-based, group-format, parent-assisted social skills intervention for children ages 8 – 12. It has been proven effective with verbal children who have high- functioning Autism, Asperger Syndrome, PDD NOS, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and prenatal alcohol exposure. This program was developed at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where it has been used and studied for over 20 years with more than 1,000 families. This training is geared towards motivated children who are interested in learning ways to help them make and keep friends. During each group session, children are taught crucial social skills and are given the opportunity to practice these skills in session during role-play and play activities (e.g. sports, boardgames, etc.). Parents are taught how to assist their children in making and keeping friends by providing feedback through coaching during weekly socialization homework assignments designed to build on skills practiced in the sessions.

Topics of Instruction:

  • How to ‘play detective’ to find common interests
  • How to join a group of kids at play
  • How to handle rejection, teasing, and bullying
  • How to be a good host on a playdate
  • How to be a good winner
  • How to be a good sport
  • How to show respect to adults
  • How to make phone calls to friends

Participation requirements:

  • Both the child and 1 designated parent must commit to attending the entire 10-week program )consideration will be given if someone is ill)
  • Child must have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Child must have difficulties establishing and / or maintaining friendships
  • Child must have verbal communication skills
  • Child must be able to participate in a group setting without additional support beyond that provided within the program
  • Child must demonstrate emerging social skills (interest in engaging with peers, attempts to verbally communicate, manages emotions in a non-aggressive way) and an interest in building relationships with same-aged peers
  • Children must be between 8 to 12 years of age.
  • Children must be interested in attending the program