Important Information For Parents
We want to share with you some thoughts on making sure your child receives the most benefit from our program. First, talk with your child honestly about the purpose of the class and the interpersonal skills to be gained from attending. A key goal is to help students become more comfortable talking and engaging with others. Many of our students struggle with this – they are shy or anxious or feel awkward in social situations. In this session they will learn that they are not alone – everyone feels awkward in some social situations. They will be accepted just the way they are AND, through fun and focused activities, they will discover just how capable and likable they are.
Remind them,too, of the many benefits of practicing social skills. People who have better social skills get more invitations, have more opportunities, have better relationships with friends, enjoy closer relationships with their families, are more readily accepted by peers, enjoy greater academic success, and laugh more. This new comfort and confidence will result in greater enjoyment in social opportunities. Everyone can benefit from social skill classes – the fact that they are coming to class speaks to their willingness to grow and pursue self-improvement.
We believe that every child will succeed if he/she can, and if he is not succeeding, it is simply because he is lacking one or more skills. Children rely on the loving adults in their lives to advocate for them, help identify the needed skills, and find solutions. We are here to teach, support and encourage these capabilities.
For parents of children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD: If your student has been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD and takes medication to assist with associated symptoms, we hope that you will allow your student to continue with medication during class periods. From our own experience we know that youth with ADD/ADHD often struggle with managing their behavior and focusing well if they do not have the benefit of their medication. During the school day, their medication helps them to focus, control impulses and, in general, be successful. Our goal for every student in the class is to experience success. While some families, understandably, choose not to administer extended dosages in the evenings or on weekends, worrying about sleeplessness and decreased appetites, we hope you will consider allowing your child to have the same supports for class as they have during the school day. We want all students to easily and successfully manage their behavior and fully participate in activities and interactions with peers and teachers. The positive feedback and peer recognition resulting from being a contributing, engaged member of their groups will build confidence and self-esteem. Please talk with your provider about the best options for your child.
As parents, we provide keys to social success. To support your role we will be emailing weekly session updates to you. These will let you know about the class activities and skills taught so that you can reinforce them during the week. Acknowledging and praising your child for practicing the newly learned skills will increase the benefit for using those skills and increase the probability of feeling comfortable using them outside your home.
Remember that the road to good social skills is a lifelong endeavor, with an occasional step backwards while moving ahead. Acquiring and using new social skills is much like learning a new language… It becomes easier the more it is practiced; it is reinforced every time one has a successful interaction; and it requires courage and support to risk engaging in what is not comfortable and familiar. Each of the students who attends our classes is blessed with family members who advocate for them, love them, and want the best for them. They will continue to blossom with your patience, encouragement and celebration of each step forward.
And finally, to address a frequently expressed concern of parents, we do not allow disruptive behavior as it is detrimental to the positive learning experience we provide. Conducting an effective class requires that students responsibly manage their own behavior. We want this experience to be the best possible for your child and know you do, too. We welcome your thoughts and the wisdom of your own experience, and look forward to meeting you and your family.
Jane Steinhagen, Program Director