Accent on Autism

Young Adults on the Spectrum

Let’s Get Social With It: How PEERS Helps

You can make that date you’ve been dreaming of, tell a funny joke, host a party, even deal with rejection. Those social situations can seem daunting for some, yet many are manageable with the right social coaching. Think PEERS.


An awkward dating moment for Shaun, who has autism,  and Carly on ABC’s “The Good Doctor.”

PEERS, short for the Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills, is a 16-week, deep-dive social skills training program for those on the spectrum and their parent or caregiver. Over the weeks, the structured group training sessions focus on a number of skills. Key topics include how to:

  • Pick appropriate friends.
  • Appropriately use text, email, social media sites.
  • Use humor and figure out how the joke went over.
  • Get in and out of conversations between peers.
  • Hold successful gatherings with friends.
  • Get a date and handle dating.
  • Settle disputes with friends and others.
  • Handle teasing, bullying, and gossip.

PEERS was developed at UCLA by Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson, an assistant clinical professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, who has since trained thousands of educators, mental health professionals, and families in the PEERS method. There are PEERS programs in more than 70 countries. 

The instruction is classroom-based and incorporates a variety of teaching techniques from role-playing to behavioral rehearsals to virtual coaching, which uses apps, to make it easier to learn in a supportive environment. Click on the link to find certified PEERS providers in your area.

November 4, 2019 Posted by | Asperger's, Autism, On the spectrum, social skills | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Doing Church When You’re “On the Spectrum”

More churches, synagogues, and other houses of worship acknowledge that they have a long way to go in meeting the needs of those on the spectrum. Most of the work so far has focused on serving the needs of children and teens. McLean Bible Church in Tysons Corner, Virginia, is one congregation leading the way and setting a roadmap for others. An increasing number of places, however, are also finding ways to make their spaces and ministries more welcoming for young adults on the spectrum. They are providing specialized training and education to staff, ministry leaders, teachers and volunteers to help them understand what autism is and to explain some of the challenges adults with autism might experience in large and small group settings. Some have even added Special Needs Ministries and hired pastors who specialize in counseling services. Others, such as GraceWay Church in Leesburg, Florida, have begun outreach ministries to provide meaningful experiences and social activities. GraceWay Grounds & Cafe is a coffee shop run by young adults with autism. Writer David Delgado, who is on the spectrum, shares tips for getting the most out of the church experience. Among his top tips: Develop one-on-one relationships; try small groups; manage the potential for sensory overload; pray.

November 1, 2019 Posted by | Autism, On the spectrum, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment


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