Autism Services

The Spectrum Education Center currently offers group social skill intervention, PEERS®, to our community members with autism. Kristine Turko, Director of the Spectrum Education Center is a certified PEERS provider. PEERS® for Adolescents is a 14-week evidence-based social skills intervention for motivated students with autism in middle school or high school who are interested in learning ways to help them make and keep friends.

PEERS - PEERS® for Adolescents is a 14-week evidence-based social skills intervention for motivated students with autism in middle school or high school who are interested in learning ways to help them make and keep friends. The intervention occurs via group therapy sessions that are held weekly for 90 minutes. The first 30 minutes consists of a didactic lesson that includes role-play demonstrations, behavioral rehearsal exercises, and performance feedback. The next 45 minutes consists of peer mentoring with UMU students who help group members practice the goal behaviors that were introduced in the lesson. The final 15 minutes is spent reviewing the lesson as a group and talking about ways that the students can practice utilizing the new skills.  The following is an outline of the social skill topics covered during the 14-week session:

  1. Conversational skills, trading information
  2. Conversational skills, two-way conversations
  3. Conversational skills, electronic communication
  4. Choosing appropriate friends
  5. Appropriate use of humor
  6. Peer entry, entering a conversation
  7. Peer entry, exiting a conversation
  8. Group social events
  9. Good sportsmanship
  10. Rejection, teasing and embarrassing feedback
  11. Rejection, bullying and bad reputations
  12. Handling disagreements
  13. Rumors and gossip
  14. Conclusion and graduation 

Two PEERS groups are held yearly, 14-week sessions each Fall and Spring semester. To apply to the PEERS program or to learn more contact spectrum@mountunion.edu.

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