Welcome! My name is Ryan, I’m a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has spent nearly 20 years working with kids and young adults as a School Social Worker, Camp Director and Clinician. I’m also the father to a 20-year old son and an overly friendly dog with dreadlocks.
While I have worked in special education since graduating from Bryn Mawr College School of Social Work I became interested in social learning (social skills) because my son (whom I adopted as an older child in 2006) needed help with his social, executive functioning and emotional regulation skills. When I searched for programs to help him I realized that all the programs in the area were designed for children who had more significant challenges than my son. As a result, I began learning all I could about these areas which led me to opening Center for ADHD in 2014.
I created Ride the Wave Counseling (formerly Center for ADHD) to teach practical skills and strategies in a manner designed for how the male brain learns best.
Summer Trip Camp opened in 2017 as the first summer camp in the area to simultaneously address executive functioning, social and independent skills.
While I specialize in ADHD and learning differences I also work with boys and young adults who have no formal diagnosis but may struggle with managing their emotions, social anxiety, excessive gaming, low self-confidence and those who may struggle with life after high school.
Please go to upcoming presentations for a list of my upcoming speaking engagements or visit past presentations to see my speaking engagements from the past year.
I look forward to connecting with you.
Ryan Wexelblatt, LCSW – Ride the Wave Counseling Director
- Licensed Clinical Social Worker
- Certified School Social Worker
- Certificate in Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Youth from the Beck Institute
- Received Social Thinking® Clinical Training Level 1 Certificate of Completion
- Extensive training in executive functioning support strategies
- Training in Cognitive Behavior interventions from Temple University Children & Teen Anxiety Clinic
- May be able to initially make friends but has trouble keeping them
- Appears awkward and has difficulty initiating conversations with similar-age peers
- Feels more comfortable communicating with younger children or adults than similar-age peers
- Spends most of his free time alone, playing video games or watching videos of people playing video games
- Tends to have one-sided conversations, talks at people about his interests
- Frequently interrupts others or says things impulsively, lacks a “filter”
- Can be inflexible, often says “No” to anything new
- Labels other kids with ADHD as “annoying” or “weird” despite the fact he acts like them
- Trouble understanding social cues and non-verbal communication (facial expressions and body language)
- Lacks understanding how he is perceived by others
- Has difficulty understanding other’s thoughts and feelings
- Difficulty asking for help or self-advocating
- Tries to be part of a peer group who is not accepting of him
- Has a tendency to “police” other kids and control situations
- Uses humor inappropriately in order to gain attention from peers
- Had friends in elementary school but became more socially isolated when he got to middle school
Executive Function Skills
- Has a hard time sensing the passage of time
- Needs constant prompting and supervision to get through any type of non-preferred tasks.
- Believes homework will take much longer than it actually will
- Struggles during unstructured times
- Can be impulsive, does things without thinking about outcome or consequences
- Chronically disorganized, forgets or looses materials
- Under or over-estimates how long it will take to complete assignments
- Has a hard time recalling how he performed a task in the past
- Difficulty with future planning
- Has a hard time self-monitoring himself and his schedule
- Becomes easily distracted and/or wastes time with trivial matters
- Focuses on small details and has a hard time getting the “bigger picture”
- Has a messy school backpack or carries around too much
- Completes homework but forgets to turn it in
- Struggles with reading comprehension (remembers details but has a hard time summarizing)
- Has a hard time with writing
Emotional Regulation Skills
- Appears to be several years behind in his social/emotional maturity compared to same-age peers
- Difficulty differentiating between “small problems” and “big problems”
- Perseverates on the negative and has trouble letting go of things that bother him/
- Has difficulty when there are changes in routine or during transitions
- Becomes argumentative or explosive when told to get off video games/computer
- Has a hard time solving problems, wants you to solve problems for him
- Prone to “meltdowns” when having to do non-preferred tasks
- Does not understand how his tone of voice sounds to others
- Has difficulty with competition
- Low frustration tolerance
- Becomes irritable or more difficult to deal with after school
Your son’s social, emotional and executive functioning skills will not simply improve with age. Traditional “talk therapy”/counseling is not productive for individuals with ADHD because most therapists have no specialized training or education in treating ADHD. Your son needs to learn learn practical skills and strategies.
Our approach is structured but informal in order to create an optimal learning environment. Parents are always involved in learning with their children. Families travel from throughout the Philadelphia area and South Jersey to work with us because the work we do is practical and is a welcome change from traditional therapy.
Areas we frequently work on during our sessions include:
- Developing age-expected emotional regulation skills
- Improving compliance at home
- Developing resiliency to get through non-preferred tasks
- Understanding how to be relatable to your similar-age peers
- Improving cognitive flexibility (being less “black and white” in thought process)
- Learning how to differentiate between what’s a “small problem” or “big problem”
- Reducing compulsive video gaming/internet usage
- Managing morning routine, homework, etc. more independently
- Developing independent problem solving skills
- Improving perspective taking ability (understanding other’s thoughts/feelings & understanding how you come across to others)
- Improving self-confidence
- Cultivating and sustaining friendships
Topics frequently addressed with parents include:
- Improving compliance and avoiding power struggles
- How to help your child successfully transition from preferred tasks to non-preferred tasks
- Helping your child to develop resiliency
- Improving executive function skills (going from being prompt-dependent to independent)
- Supporting instead of enabling
- Setting realistic expectations at home
- Helping your child shift from a sense of entitlement towards a motivation to earn things
- Creating parameters around “screen time” usage in the home
- Understanding how to move your child away from being over-dependent to feeling empowered
- Managing your child’s emotional/behavioral dysregulation at home so family life is not revolving around your child’s moods and behaviors
- Communicating with your child about difficult/uncomfortable topics
The boys and young adults we work with have many strengths, great qualities, and tremendous potential and the vast majority of them have not benefited from traditional “talk therapy”/counseling.
Families choose Ride the Wave Counseling because our approach is about teaching practical strategies and skills in a structured but informal environment. Parents are always involved in learning with their children.
Traditional talk therapy/counseling is often counter-intuitive to how the male brain works. Treatment often looks like attempting to find ways to get the individual to verbalize his innermost thoughts and feelings. In reality, most boys and young men don’t operate this way thus therapy is often not a productive use of time or financial resources.
We understand from a male perspective how to make therapy a positive and productive experience for boys and young men who may have any aversion to participating in therapy based on their past experiences.
Please contact us for a free phone consultation or set up an appointment below. We look forward to meeting your family.
Our counseling groups provide a way for boys to authentically connect and learn from a group of similar-age boys in safe environment that promotes authenticity with each other, without the fear of being judged. Our counseling groups do not consist of simply sitting around talking about problems. We learn strategies, solve problems, do activities and have fun in the process.
If your son has been in therapy for a long time and you’re not seeing the results that you’d like to see, our groups may be the solution.
Our groups for boys include:
Days and Times of Groups
Groups run on weekday afternoons/evenings throughout the school year, with breaks during winter and spring break holiday from school. Our How to Hang Out program occurs once per month and is only open to boys who participate in our groups.
Complete the form below to discuss the next best steps for your son.