Communication Works (CW) provides individual and group therapy to assist with the development of pragmatic language, social communication, and Social Thinking ®, bringing clients of similar abilities and ages together for weekly sessions. We teach strategies for understanding social rules, what is expected in social situations, ways to increase social comfort, and how to communicate and connect with others.
Groups meet 1–2 times a week for 60 minutes, with the last portion devoted to parent/caregiver education and consultation so that new concepts can be implemented at home, school, or work.
Individual therapy is also provided for those that need or want more specific support and guidance to help them navigate their social world. Individual sessions are 50 minutes in length.
We teach our clients how to be more successful in social settings. Participants will acquire the social skills they need to interact with others as well as the ability to think socially, which gives them a deeper understanding of why these skills are important and how they can be used in various settings. We believe that simply teaching social skills is not enough to assist our clients. If they do not understand the thinking that underlies the social world they cannot effectively use their skills to navigate through daily life. At CW, we teach the thoughts behind the social skills, helping our clients to see how their actions and behaviors influence others. Many of the concepts and activities we use in therapy are based on the work of award-winning experts in the areas of Social Thinking ® and social communication, including Michelle Garcia Winner.
Our program encompasses a wide range of topics and tailors lessons to our clients’ needs and ages. Please click here to review specific lessons/concepts by age (PDF).
At each level, we focus on addressing specific needs such as:
- PreK – joint attention, identifying basic emotions, shared imagination, taking turns, and sharing.
- Elementary – whole-body listening, friendly/expected vs. unfriendly/unexpected behavior, emotions and self-regulation/control, awareness of self and others, verbal and nonverbal communication.
- Teens – group dynamics, initiating and maintaining conversation, anxiety, verbal and nonverbal social cues, self-esteem and organization.
- Adults – social networking, organization, self-advocacy, job skills, relationship skills, perspective taking and flexibility, problem-solving, and negotiating awareness of social cues.
- Connecting/sharing and/or self-regulation
- Review and instruction
- Group work/activities/games/facilitated play
- Parent/caregiver wrap-up, review and training
Tools and Techniques Used
- Role play/guided practice
- Activities, games, facilitated play, “hangout time”
- Community outings
- Video, media, and acting/drama
- Visual supports and social stories/scripts
- Music and movement
- Sensory strategies and support
- Relaxation and mind/body awareness
- Positive reinforcement
- Carryover activities/parent tips/education and support
- Data collection and progress reporting
Structure of Therapy
- Individual sessions, dyads (groups of 2 clients), and small groups (3 or 4 clients) offered
- Groups run throughout the school year; call for openings
- Summer sessions/camps available June through August
- Year-end progress reports provided
- School observations and staff training
- Consultations and education for parents and professionals
Who Can Benefit
Social learning intervention is highly recommended for those with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders (Asperger’s Syndrome, PDD-NOS, etc.), nonverbal learning disorder (NLD), ADD/ADHD, social anxiety, OCD, or other language or social challenges.
We also support many individuals who have undiagnosed social-learning or self-regulation challenges and who may exhibit some of the following:
- Difficulty making or keeping friends or relationships
- Social awkwardness
- Difficulty taking turns or sharing
- Trouble thinking of others (perspective taking)
- Problems working in a group
- Difficulty initiating or maintaining a conversation
- Difficulty understanding nonverbal communication
- Trouble controlling their impulses, emotions, or sensory system
- Difficulty paying attention or focusing
- Challenges solving problems, negotiating, and demonstrating “flexible thinking”
- Struggles with organization, time management, taking notes, or holding a job
We believe that, regardless of a diagnosis, those with social-cognitive challenges desire meaningful social interactions and relationships. It is our goal to provide an environment in which they can understand, learn, and maintain the social skills to be more successful and confident in social situations.
Click here to see our current Center calendar.