Positive peer relationships offer a critical buffer against stress and psychological difficulties. Rejection by peers is devastating to children, teens, and adults. It can be associated with such long-term problems as low self-esteem, poor academic performance, feelings of aloneness and loneliness, and even juvenile delinquency.

Without the friendship of peers, children and teens feel alone, confused, and out of sync with the rest of the world. And these feelings can have serious repercussions for their future. Research has found that rejection by peers is devastating to children and teens and can lead to such long-term problems as low self-esteem, poor academic performance, depression, failed relationships, poor parenting skills, and troubled careers. Being able to make and keep friends clearly plays a vital role in a child’s emotional health and well-being.

Social issues are especially problematic for children, teens, and adults with ADHD, social anxiety, and learning disabilities. However, there is good news for children and teens who struggle in social settings with their peers—poor social skills can improve with coaching. And people learn interpersonal skills best in the company of others. That’s why In Step offers many interpersonal development groups, including our renowned Social IQ development program – Stepping Stones. Stepping Stones has been raising the Social IQ of children and their parents for over 25 years.

Stepping Stones is unique in that it follows a step-by-step approach to teaching children of elementary school age how to make and maintain friends and increase the child’s awareness of the impact of his or her behavior on other children.

How Stepping Stones Group Therapy Works

The Stepping Stones groups meet weekly for one hour, and the program is 9 months long. We help your child build the following social skill sets:

  • Joining in/making a good first impression
  • Communication and conversation skills
  • Reading social signals
  • Raising self-esteem
  • Coping with teasing
  • Managing stress
  • Solving social problems
  • Resolving conflicts
  • Managing anger

The children learn these skills through friendship group activities, exercises, and psycho-dramatic techniques, as well as practice assignments at home and peer feedback. We stress the importance of using these newly-learned skills at home and in school to reinforce the newly learned behaviors.

The Parents' Role

Stepping Stones is an evidence-based social skills group. Our research clearly demonstrates the critical role the simultaneous parent groups play in a child’s acquisition and generalization of the social skills kids need to make and keep friends. Stepping Stones – a Social IQ development program – emphasizes strategies and techniques for parents and children to try at home. Through reinforcement and sustained practice, parents are able to foster positive social and emotional change, more successfully manage challenging behaviors, and lessen family stresses and conflicts.

Stepping Stones Schedule

These groups meet once weekly for one hour in the evening and/or on Saturdays. We also now have daytime groups, which may better fit the schedules of home-schoolers.

The course of treatment is an average of 35 weeks, with the parent groups running simultaneously.

Additional Social Skills Groups

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