Social Skills Groups

Social skills groups are one of the most common therapeutic modalities currently utilized to help individuals with autism spectrum disorders develop effective social interaction skills. Therapy groups offer opportunities to observe, practice with, and receive feedback from peers. Although the format can vary, groups generally consist of instruction and practice of targeted social skills.  Social skills groups may also feature use of other strategies including video modeling, role-play, social coaching, and the skill practice (i.e., "homework") outside of the group sessions. Additionally, parent training is often a key component in promoting social skill growth. 

At the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) at Kennedy Krieger Institute, groups are led by speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, social workers, and psychologists. Groups are often led by an interdisciplinary team, thereby offering the opportunity for more comprehensive treatment of social needs. CARD has expanded its group treatment program and offers services to children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. In addition, efforts to identify innovative strategies to increase group members' application of new skills outside of the clinic and to improve the effectiveness of groups have been paramount in our clinical practice.  

Children and adolescents are typically referred to our social skills groups by a CARD provider. Once they have been referred, parents are asked to complete a Social Skills Groups Screening Form, which is utilized to determine if the child would benefit from participation in a group and to select the best group program for the child's current needs.  If a child appears to be a good fit for a social skills group, he/she will be evaluated by the group leaders prior to beginning the social skills program. Occasionally children are asked to participate in a future group or are referred to a different service if it is determined to better meet their needs.

If you would like to have your child added to our waitlist for a social skills group, please contact: 

Care Management Office: Intake Department
Toll-Free Referral: (888) 554-2080
Local Referral: (443) 923-9400 

If your child is already on the waitlist at CARD for a social skills group please complete and return the Social Skills Groups Screening Form.  This can be returned via fax to: 443-923-7560, Attention: Maraya Bitner.  It can also be mailed to: Maraya Bitner, CARD, 3901 Greenspring Ave., Baltimore, MD 21211.  If you would prefer to email this form, please email it to Bitner@kennedykrieger.org.

If you are interested in a social skills group for your child and they do not have an Autism Spectrum Disorder, please contact our Intake Department (at the number listed above) to learn about social skills groups offered elsewhere at the Institute.

Related Materials and Information