Social Interaction Skills Group

Two of the most significant issues that children with high-functioning autism have trouble with are social-emotional understanding and difficulties initiating social contact. These children often desire to socially engage with their peers and experience loneliness and depression when unable to engage. Their limited social and emotional understanding hinders the development of friendships and social interactions.

Children with high-functioning autism also experience difficulties with social cognition. Social cognition refers to a collection of abilities which includes interpreting verbal and nonverbal cues, recognizing social and emotional information, understanding different social behaviors and their consequences, and making inferences about another individual’s mental state. While high-functioning autistic children can recognize different and complex emotions, they have trouble explaining the causes of these emotions. These children also have trouble assigning meaning to a social interaction, instead of focusing on the details of the interaction itself.

This program involves teaching social group rules, social cues, nonverbal cues, expression of feelings, understanding the perspective of other people, and social problem-solving.


PART I: 12-Week Group-Based Social Interaction Skills Intervention 

Emotional Skills

  • Recognizing emotions and understanding their appropriateness in social settings.
  • Expanding the repertoire of awareness of basic emotional expressions to more advanced and complex emotions such as pride, embarrassment, and shame.
  • Selecting and reciprocally responding to the relevant emotional cues within an interpersonal interaction.
  • Predicting other’s feelings and responding empathically.
  • Learning to manage and control one’s emotional responses.

Relationship Skills

  • Developing behaviors involved in active listening skills and showing concern  for others
  • Conforming to cultural norms, conventions, rules of behavior, and respecting others.
  • Identifying the desirable traits of friendship, such as sharing, kindness, compromise, and fairness.
  • Acquiring valuable skills to build a positive self-image among peers.
  • Defining and applying the problem-solving process to social conflicts.

Date: January 8th – March 28th

Therapist: Dr. Karina Poirier

Enrollment: Intake Interview | Review of Historical Records | Assessment

PART II: 12-Week Group-Based Social Interaction Skills Intervention 

Communication Skills

  • Using language as a tool to move from concrete examples to an abstract understanding.
  • Using precise and clear language to convey responses.
  • Understanding the sequence and order of events and retelling them logically.
  • Communicating in an empathetic and flexible way.
  • Initiating, maintaining, and ending social interaction in a friendly way.

Executive Function Skills

  • Sustaining deliberate attention to a stimulus and shift focus from one stimulus to another, while self-monitoring attention.
  • Gathering and accurately organizing information.
  • Discriminating between relevant and irrelevant information.
  • Thinking through the problem systematically.
  • Establishing a goal and devising a strategy to reach it.
  • Linking new information to knowledge previously acquired to solve a problem.
  • The ability to delay a response until all information has been systematically processed.
  • The ability to take responsibility and monitor one’s own behavior.

Date: April 8th – June 28th

Therapist: Dr. Karina Poirier

Enrollment: Intake Interview | Review of Historical Records | Assessment

Explore the Social Potential Curriculum