Child and Adolescent Autism Groups

Those affected by ASD suffer from an impairment in the capacity to form meaningful and satisfying emotional relationships. The failure to develop relationships has a profound impact on the quality of life of everyone challenged by ASD.

Relationships that are firmly grounded in emotional attachment play a critical role in cognitive and emotional development. Relationships based in emotional attachment motivate us to become socially competent beings which results in a desire to make friends, establish intimacy, and become empathic.

We strive to create an emotional environment in which ASD children and teens will develop socially competent behavior by virtue of creating social motivation. Unlike traditional social skills, we do not focus on applying memorized responses and scripted strategies.

Instead, our goal is to facilitate positive emotional attachments–with the group leaders and with peers.  By forming positive emotional attachments our clients develop social motivation and then they acquire social competence/skills.

Each session focuses on:

- Dynamic social thinking

- Dynamic communication

- Empathy

- Community-building activities

- Encouraging emotional expression

- Valuing each group member as a unique person

- Designing simple activities that cultivate enjoyment through social interaction

- Nurturing intra-group relationships

- Encouraging giving and receiving help

- Admiring and respecting each member’s challenges

- Offering compassion to each member

- Believing all members are capable of making lasting friendships

Signs that members have improved social competence include:

- Decrease in object-focused attention

- Decrease in object-focused communication and monologues

- Increase in peer orientation

- Increase in interest in the unique attributes and backgrounds of each member

- Increase in motivation to be part of the group

- Subordinating individual needs to the needs of the group as a whole

- Increase in flexible and resilient thought and behavior

- Expecting friendships to be more pleasurable than solitary activities

- Increase in mindful and self-aware behavior