Developing Social Skills for

Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Welcome, Friends!

We at Destination Friendship believe that friendships are one of the most vital aspects of the human experience. Research tells us that individuals who have friends are likely to be happier, healthier and live longer than those who do not. From an early age, it is important to teach skills needed to acquire and retain friendships. This is especially true for those children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) – children who often struggle with these friendship skills.

 

Located in the Central PA area, Destination Friendship groups are based on an innovative curriculum that utilizes research-based strategies and activities to support the development of friendship skills in children with ASD.  A large emphasis is placed on developing Intuitive Social Processing (ISP), or the ability to insightfully understand how our actions impact the thoughts of others and the ability to use this information to adjust our behavior in order to create a desired response in others. The Destination Friendship model addresses ISP within 13 core skill areas:

Cooperation

Empathy

Organization of Thoughts

Hidden Rules of Friendship

Flexibility of Thought

Listening

Shared Interests

Greetings

Perspective

Memory

Conversation

Initiation

Self-Regulation

All this being said, NO boring lessons or worksheets here!! Destination Friendship emphasizes the principle that children best learn social skills by actually putting them into practice in an active and FUN learning environment. Through a series of theme-based sessions and a large selection of motivating and enjoyable activities, participants are subtly taught a wide variety of skills that they can use to foster friendships. Examples of past theme nights include Active Game Night, Video Game Night, Movie Night, Pizza Party Night, Bowling Night and Swimming Night.

 

The Destination Friendship model is based on the philosophy that all participants should be accepted for who they are and should be guided and supported to grow in a positive way as they develop friendship skills. Furthermore, participants are encouraged to be proud of whom they are and the interests they love. They are never made to feel “different.” It is our goal that each participant leaves Destination Friendship with not only more confidence in their ability to fit in and make friends, but an improved sense of their individual strengths and positive qualities.

 

Our Destination Friendship team is comprised of 4 passionate professionals with diverse backgrounds: two special educators who are also board certified behavior analysts, a speech-language pathologist, and an occupational therapist. Our unique capacity to collaborate using different professional perspectives allows us to provide optimal learning opportunities for individuals with ASD.

 

For more information regarding upcoming Destination Friendship Groups, please check our online calendar. For more information regarding the Destination Friendship model, check out our new book, Destination Friendship: Developing Social Skills for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders or Other Social Challenges.