Q: Why is it important to learn social skills in a peer group?
A small, social skill building group provides authentic practice similar to “real life” situations in school and other peer settings. Group members receive feedback in the moment as to what they can do to be socially successful. This can include modeling, scripted phrases, giving an option to try again, and roleplaying. It also provides facilitators with the opportunity to give positive feedback when social successes are observed. Group members build social confidence in the small group setting which can carry over into peer settings at school, extracurricular activities, and home.
Q: Can my child or teen learn social skills virtually?
Yes! Due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, we are offering our programs 100 percent online. Group sessions are live-online interactions between facilitators and groups of children or teens.
In this virtual format, we continue to provide the same high-quality lessons, which include direct teaching, social coaching, and activities that give students opportunities to practice skills with their peers. The way that we do this is different from face-to- face interactions; however the social-emotional needs of your child or teen will be addressed and met.
Q: Who teaches or facilitates the social skills training groups and clubs?
Social Bridges staff is made up of highly trained professionals in the realm of social-emotional development. Each staff member is proficient in the Social Bridges curriculum. Professional backgrounds typically are in mental health and education.
Q: When is individual social coaching helpful?
At times, additional practice or coaching regarding specific issues may be needed. Individual coaching can supplement attendance in skill building groups and clubs. In addition, group members who are joining the semester late can use individual coaching to “catch up” on skills missed in group sessions, so they are able to join a semester already in progress. If group members do not have the comfort level to join their peer group, individual social coaching may be recommended.
Q: What is the difference between skill building groups and clubs?
Skill building groups teach the Social Bridges curriculum directly through stories, games, and activities. Attending a skill building group is a prerequisite for participation in any clubs. Clubs are fun, supplemental activities designed to reinforce skills learned in the skill building groups. Club enrollment is open to group members currently enrolled in a skill building group, students receiving the Social Bridges curriculum through their school, and children/teens who have previously participated in the skill building groups.
Q: What is my role as the parent?
As a parent or guardian, your role is essential to your child’s progress. We use a three-pronged approach which includes the child, facilitator, and parent, and communication between the three is crucial to success. You will receive weekly communication (Bridges-to-Home), outlining your child’s progress toward their goals. Parent training is provided for all new families, which will teach you tools to coach skills at home, introduce you to terms we use during sessions, and provide you with helpful resources. A checkpoint conference is provided around the third week of the semester, and a final conference will be scheduled as the last session of the semester.
Q: What is the cost and commitment to the program?
The cost is $80 per group session. The overall tuition is determined by the number of weeks in the semester. Fall semester runs from August-December and Spring semester runs from January-May. Summer courses are also available. When you enroll your child or teen, you are making a semester-long commitment for Fall or Spring. Regular attendance is encouraged, as skills build upon one another. Additionally, in the semester-long commitment, you will not be refunded for sessions missed.
Q: Is this program covered by insurance?
Social Bridges is an out-of-network provider for most insurance companies other than Tricare. Services may be covered with out-of-network benefits (PPO). It is recommended that you check your benefits and your out-of-network deductible. A single case agreement may be negotiated with your insurance company if you have in-network benefits only. Families who utilize Medicaid HMOS Insurance can receive services through our Community Partner, JFS Orlando.
Medicaid HMOs: Staywell, Simply, Aetna Better Health, Humana, UHC, and Sunshine. Use this link to connect with JFS: https://www.jfsorlando.org/social-bridges-request-form
Please contact Carol Miller at CarolMiller@SocialBridges.com for more information.
Q: Do you accept the Gardiner/Step Up Scholarship?
Yes! We are an approved Gardiner/Step Up provider, and your child or teen can use their scholarship funds for our services. At your intake interview, please provide their student number, and we will submit statements for reimbursement directly. It is your responsibility to ensure your child is in attendance for each session, as only sessions attended can be reimbursed. Any sessions missed are the responsibility of the family to make up (a check-in call with facilitator), or to pay out-of-pocket ($80/session).
Q: How do you communicate with me about my child?
Social Bridges uses a HIPAA-compliant parent portal to send weekly communications and progress reports. At the beginning of each semester, you will be required to fill out forms with information about your child. All private information is stored in their electronic health files, which can be accessed by your child’s facilitator. Additionally, Social Bridges sends out weekly communication regarding program-wide announcements through Mail Chimp. Your child’s facilitators may reach out to you directly through email, text message, or phone.
Q: How does Social Bridges ToolBox support a whole child education?
A whole child education is designed to nurture students’ emotional, social, physical, and intellectual development. By providing a comprehensive approach to social-emotional learning, Social Bridges ToolBox fulfills a crucial part of this mission. Social-emotional learning is directly taught, and tools can be used to help support academic and physical development areas. Schools that also put an emphasis on spiritual development and character education find that our curriculum helps reinforce the values they wish to instill in their students.
Q: How do I implement Social Bridges ToolBox into an already full academic schedule?
Social Bridges ToolBox curriculum includes complete lesson plans and a materials list, so educators do not have to spend additional planning time. Lesson plans are designed to be flexible and taught in 30-60 minute increments, allowing teachers to fit the curriculum in where the schedule permits. Our schools have discovered that a weekly class designated for Social Bridges’ social-emotional instruction reduces classroom conflict and social anxieties, leading to more productive academic sessions. Less time is spent on problem-solving and more time is spent on learning. Equipped with the ability to better regulate their own emotions and navigate complex social situations, students feel freed from social stress and enter the headspace necessary to excel.
Q: Is Social Bridges ToolBox appropriate for faith-based schools?
Educating the whole child is central to the mission of faith-based schools, and Social Bridges empowers school leadership to deliver on this promise. Lessons reinforce the values and character development essential to a religious education. Weekly lessons taught by the school’s Social Bridges facilitator allow teachers to understand and address each child’s social and emotional needs. Students are emboldened to display compassion, stand up for others, take responsibility for their actions, and do the right thing by other people.
Q: How do I get our parents involved?
Social Bridges ToolBox includes a parent workshop that introduces families to SEL and prepares them to reinforce lessons at home. In addition, a Bridges-to-Home parent manual is specifically designed to provide parents with an abbreviated set of tools and resources that echo the classroom lessons. This dual approach to social-emotional instruction — empowering educators, students and parents — is a defining feature of our curriculum, benefiting students and families alike. Parents appreciate the problem-solving tools and resources that de-escalate conflicts at home (or in Social Bridges lingo, keep those tremors from turning into earthquakes!).
Q: How much does it cost?
The Social Bridges curriculum is scalable, making it cost-effective for a wide range of schools, both large and small. Schools can begin by purchasing one module (such as PreK-K) and add additional modules as budget allows. Activities do not require special supplies — they use common, everyday materials such as jump-rope or construction paper.
For schools with fewer than 100 students, or for an afterschool program, Social Bridges ToolBox-to-Go is ideal — appropriately scaled for smaller schools or programs in scope and affordability. For more information on cost for your school or program’s needs, contact CarolMiller@SocialBridges.com.
Q: Is there an option for adults?
Yes! We offer Social Bridges ToolBox for Adults, a curriculum specifically designed for supporting adults with special needs in the areas of social skills and transitional skills.
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