How do we know group is working?
Blog: How do we know group is working?
At GroupWorks West we do not track the progress of our members by how frequently they use static social skills – such as saying hello and good bye, asking questions, responding to questions, making eye contact, and saying thank you. The term “static skill” means that the application of the skill does not depend on the person or the context in which the skills is used. Thus, a social skills instructor could say; “Always say hello when meeting a friend, always make eye contact, and always begin a conversation with a question.” At GroupWorks West we assume the vast majority of children/teens on the spectrum can and will memorize a variety of social static skills.
GroupWorks West is not in the static skills business. We are in the relationship building business. As such, the way we determine success is through the emergence of emotional and cognitive capacities that support the development of intimate and sustainable friendships.
How do we know group members are improving?
1) A decrease in object focused attention (objects of special interest such as books, toys, video games, and internet research).
2) A decrease in object focused communication/monologues (one way communication about an area of knowledge or special interests).
3) A decrease in adult directed communication during group (increase in peer orientation)
4) Interest in the unique attributes and histories of group members
5) An increase in memories related to the unique attributes and biographies of group members
6) An increase in motivation to be part of group activities
7) A decrease in the pursuit of solitary activities during groups
8) Subordinating individual needs to the needs of the group
9) An increase in flexible and resilient behavior during group
10) Expecting friendships to be more pleasurable and meaningful than solitary activities and interest
11) An increase in the motivation for socially competent behavior
At the point our group members graduate, they have experienced making a close and trusted friend as well experienced what it is like to be part of a social community. By having these experiences (which become lasting memories) members become motivated to pursue relationships in their community and feel competent at pursuing relationships.