November 18, 2017 |
UCLA Program Produces Social Skills Intervention to Combat Bullying
November 14, 2013  | 

Los Angeles, CA - Socially challenged teens and young adults, such as those with autism, often have trouble making and keeping friends and can become easy targets for bullying, a situation that challenges their coping skills.

Now, a new book written by a UCLA researcher can guide parents in helping their children become more adept at establishing meaningful connections with their peers. An accompanying DVD and mobile application called FriendMaker is designed to provide real time advice and video demonstrations of appropriate behavior for the teens and young adults when they find themselves in a challenging social situation.

The book, “The Science of Making Friends,” and the app are based on research done in the UCLA Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS) Clinic, the only evidence-based social skills intervention available for teens and young adults with autism, ADHD, anxiety, depression and other social impairments.

The strategies in the book, while geared to the socially challenged, could also apply to any teen who is trying to fit in or is being bullied, said author Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson, director of the PEERS Clinic and an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.

“Kids with special needs are already at a disadvantage. They have trouble reading social cues and interpreting the thoughts and feelings of others,” Laugeson said. “Because of this, they are more likely to be teased and bullied, and they don’t always know how to respond appropriately. Kids with autism in particular often exhibit odd behavior, which sets them up to be teased and bullied. They also tend to be isolated and alone, making them even easier targets.” Continue>

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