What is Social Bridges®?
Social Bridges® is a licensed, interactive social skills curriculum for elementary, middle, and high school age children and adults.
Skills are taught and practiced in a peer group setting. We offer two semesters per school year and summer programs–
Fall: August – December
Spring: January – May
Summer: programs include basic training and many opportunities for practice, reinforcement and generalizing of skills
Program registration entails a semester long commitment.
Groups Meet on a Weekly Basis:
Elementary groups meet in the afternoon (4:15-5:45)
Middle school, high school and adult groups meet in the evening (6:00 – 7:30).
Members can join a group “in progress” within the first month. New groups can be formed when referrals are received mid-semester. Family training/social coaching can also be provided if groups are not accepting new members for the semester.
Small groups are formed according to a participant's age, developmental level, and needs. These groups are for individuals who often struggle with social situations. While a diagnosis is not required to participate, some group members may have diagnoses such as ADHD, Social Anxiety, ASD, Learning Disabilities, Sensory Issues, Twice Exceptional (gifted plus an additional diagnosis such as ADHD, anxiety, ASD).
Participants learn and practice skills in groups of 4-6 participants with two professional facilitators. Backgrounds of the facilitators require a minimum of a Bachelor's degree in one of the following specialized fields: education, mental health counseling or speech and language therapy. Those working directly with children receive extensive training in the Social Skills Curriculum, as well as on-going clinical supervision and continuing ed. Facilitators provide social coaching; teaching the skills and providing feedback as to what the child is doing that makes them successful and what they could be doing differently. Skills are practiced both in the clinic and in natural settings based on age and interests of the group members (e.g. mini golf, bowling, backward progressive dinner, photo scavenger hunt.) Independence skills are also a focus with teen group and adults.
Skills are developmentally appropriate and include but are not limited to: Matching social expectations and social norms, Emotional Regulation – identifying and expressing feelings appropriately, reading and responding to social cues, conversation tools, assertiveness tools – letting others know how you want and need in a respectful way, working cooperatively, perspective taking, flexibility, problem solving and handling difficult experiences with peers (e.g. conflict, teasing, bullying)
Techniques for teaching and practicing these skills may include:
When group members demonstrate a grasp of the social tools and terms in skill training groups, Clubs (groups for elementary ages) and Reinforcement (groups for middle and high school ages) practice skills with social coaching focusing on generalization. As participants demonstrate skill readiness, groups meet in natural settings outside of the office to help skills to generalize. Often, elementary groups meet at a park, bounce houses, mini golf etc. Middle and High School groups often meet at the mall, a restaurant, bowling, comedy club etc. These outings allow group members to practice the skills taught in the office, with social coaching in the moment from facilitators.
Partnering with Parents:
An important goal of Social Bridges® generalization of skills – using the skills outside of the clinic when and where they are needed (e.g. in activities, play dates, at school, at home). It is important to weave social tools and terms into the child/adolescent/teen/young adults’ day. Parent training is therefore included as an integral component of the program including:
Age specific training at the clinic for new parents
Age specific Parent Manuals – password protected on the Social Bridges® website for ongoing reference
Written feedback on participant’s individual social goals and suggestions for coaching and reinforcing at home after each session (Bridges to Home)
Checkpoint conference at the beginning of the semester in skill training groups.
Written progress report at the end of the semester with follow up recommendations
Parent (elementary ages) or family (middle school, high school and adult) conferences at the end of the semester to reflect on growth and path forward
To learn more about Social Bridges®, please contact Carol Miller, LCSW, Director:
407-539-2450 or firstname.lastname@example.org
As part of the application process, you will schedule an intake interview with Carol Miller. This hour long screening is required for all applicants, and includes both the applicant and at least one parent. The intake gathers relevant background information and observes the applicant’s social skills to both determine if the program would be a good fit and aid in making the best group placement. There is a $125 fee for the intake interview, payable at time of service. If the team decides that the program is not a good fit, referrals for outside resounces will be provided.
Additional information from the school (teacher observation form) and any professionals (e.g. psychological evaluations, information from OTs, speech and language therapists, counselors) already working with the applicant are helpful in this process.
Role play exercises
Individual Team Games
Drama Therapy activities
Modeling social behaviors
Increased self awareness/self monitoring through videotaping