Many parents who reach out to us have learned that social skills groups don’t work for their son with ADHD or ADHD combined with anxiety. There are many reasons for this including:
- Most social skills groups are not designed for individuals diagnosed with ADHD, rather they are designed for individuals with autism who typically have more significant social learning challenges.
- No social skills groups in the area incorporate teaching social executive functioning skills into their curriculum. Learning these skills are a necessity in order to spend time with peers outside of school/activities.
- The vast majority of people who teach social skills are women who (understandably) never experienced being part of a male peer group thus they are not familiar with the nuances and “hidden rules” of male-male social interaction.
- Social skills groups often teach scripted, overly formal social communication which is not natural to the way boys communicate with each other.
As the only social learning program in the United States designed specifically for boys diagnosed with ADHD or ADHD with anxiety and taught from a male perspective we teach boys how to authentically connect with their similar-age male peers. Additionally, we incorporate instruction in social executive functioning into all of our groups.
Families comes to us from throughout the Philadelphia area and South Jersey because of our highly skilled approach to working specifically with boys and young men who present with ADHD, learning differences or who may not have any formal diagnosis but would benefit from learning amongst a group of similar-age boys.
Common social characteristics of the boys who participate to our groups:
- Relates better to younger children and adults than their similar-age peers
- Can socialize during structured times but struggles to interact with peers during unstructured times
- Enjoys spending time with peers but won’t invite them over
- Can appear as if they prefer video games/internet to socializing with peers
- Tries to control unstructured social/play situations or “police” other kids
- Have difficulty understanding how they come across to others
- Struggles with understanding other’s thoughts, feelings and intentions
- Tends to have one-sided conversations talking about their own interests
- Has difficulty showing other boys that they want to be friends
- Has difficulty starting conversations with peers or entering groups
- Seeks acceptance from peers who are not interested in them
- Says they have friends in school but does not see them outside of school
- Had friends in elementary school but became more socially isolated upon entering middle school
- May describe other boys who behave just like them as “weird” or “annoying” because they don’t not recognize their behaviors are similar
At Ride the Wave Counseling our groups are based on the Social Thinking® methodology. Pioneered by world renowned expert Michelle Garcia Winner, Social Thinking builds the fundamental skills that we all need to function socially, such as perspective-taking, reading nonverbal cues, managing social anxiety and learning how to be flexible in order to be part of a group.
Additionally, boys who participate in our groups are eligible to participate in our monthly How to Hang Out program to help generalize social executive functioning skills in real life settings.
Ryan Wexelblatt, Ride the Wave Director has completed more training in using the Social Thinking methodology than any social skills provider throughout the Philadelphia area and Southern New Jersey.
Skills we teach in our groups:
- Understanding how you come across to others and understanding others’ thoughts, feelings and intentions
- How to show an interest in other boys so they know you want to be friends
- “Scaffolding” play/hanging out time
- How to engage peers during unstructured times
- Developing situational awareness (reading a room)
- Learning how to ‘go with the flow’ for the sake of others
- Managing social anxiety around similar-age peers
- Moving friendships beyond “lunch table friends” to outside of school friends
- Learning the “hidden rules” of male-male social communication
- Learning natural sounding male-male social communication and the “hidden rules” of male-male social interaction
Contact us to discuss how we can help your son learn to be socially successful.