He did it! Our son made it through the 14-week PEERS program! He has the certificate of completion — as well as 14 lessons in making and keeping friends and handling challenging social situations. It’s a proud time.
I realize that for a while we’ll have to stay on him, constantly urging him to reach out to make friends because it’s natural for him to want to retreat and simply entertain himself without all the anxiety that accompanies socialization. But the more he gets used to it, the easier it will be.
A valuable part of our final session was that we parents were advised to regularly check in with our teen’s psychological state. We’re going to continue with cognitive behavioral therapy [CBT]—it’s something that has worked well with our son in the past; he’s familiar with the process. Most importantly, we want to make sure he’s not secluded, separated from others and that he regularly talks about things he’s thinking.
If you have any questions about the PEERS program, please ask.
Click the link below to watch a video of Liz Laugeson, director of UCLA PEERS, talk about the steps for slipping into a conversation. We have the notebook pages for this lesson, but my son find its extra helpful to see it acted out in real life situations. Body language is key in this lesson.