Social Skills Program
We help children understand how their behavior affects others.Licensed mental health counselors run weekly group therapy sessions for children between the ages of 6 and 15. Groups take place in a gymnasium setting and center on cooperative, non-competitive physical activity. Age, grade, physical skills, overall developmental level and personality, are used to determine the best group for your child. Our goal is to maximize the chances of forming meaningful connections with others.
Elements of a Group Session
The general structure of a session at Academy MetroWest includes:
Group Decision-Making/Instructions to Activities
First, we establish an agenda for the day. Typically, counselors provide a choice of three activities which the children decide by vote. — this is when much of the therapeutic work takes place. The process itself facilitates social skill development as children take ownership and responsibility for each session. While the counselors are presenting the activities, they provide a steady flow of limits and feedback around social or behavioral issues that arise. This highly structured approach helps participants to maximize their ability to establish and maintain focus on the group’s agenda and to receive valuable feedback from peers and counselors related to their social interactions.
Frequent targets of limits and feedback include:
- Distractibility and hyperactivity
- Respect for others’ personal space
- Communicating ideas with confidence
While we employ a variety of therapeutic techniques, our most commonly used and most valuable teaching tool is the use of natural consequences. Feedback from peers makes a powerful impression on children. As counselors, we help children to connect the dots and understand how their behavior affects others.
Cooperative, Non-Competitive Physical Activity
Academy MetroWest has a repertoire of 100-150 cooperative, non-competitive activities for teaching social skills. While our games take many forms, they are structured to ensure that children are participating together as allies in pursuit of a common goal — rather than as rivals working against each other. Because the confrontation inherent in many traditional sports is absent from our activities, conflicts develop less often than in other physical or recreational settings. One child’s success is never directly dependent on another child’s failure. Instead, children must rely on each other to maximize success.
To the extent that there is any competition in our activities, it tends to pit the kids’ team against the counselors. Most activities incorporate a strong fantasy component that helps children become more involved and invested in the games. While children may find that they become temporarily “frozen” or removed from the action, we eliminate the idea of elimination in our games. During most sessions, children participate in two gym activities.
We give the children a chance to wind down with a snack and activity in their counselor’s office. Sometimes, we’ll discuss the events that just took place. Most often, we give the kids a chance to settle back with a language-based game — which provides a fun interaction that requires a different set of social skills.
More About Groups at Academy Metrowest
We work with children and teens between the ages of 6 and 15. Owing to the social skills focus of our program, we see many children with ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Non-Verbal Learning Disorder, anxiety, various learning disabilities, and other issues in which social skills delays play a prominent role. However, a formal mental health diagnosis is not required.
Structure & Schedule
Children are placed in a small, homogeneous group comprised of three to six members. Efforts are made to match children up as closely as possible based on age, physical ability, and social/cognitive/psychological development. This arrangement enables children to attain consistent, concrete success while feeling safe and challenged, but not overwhelmed. Groups meet once a week for 75 minutes and are led by trained mental health professionals. We hold groups after school on weekdays as well as on Saturday mornings.
Parent of a longtime client
An initial interview with the child and parent(s) is required. We use this information to determine the best placement for your child. There is a $90 fee for these sessions which last between 75 and 90 minutes.
Call us at (508) 655-9200 between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays to arrange an initial interview.
2017/2018 School Year Rates
Fees are for 75-minute sessions which meet weekly.
- $61 per week with payment on or prior to the date of your child’s first session
- $64 per week for payment made after the first session
Fees are collected on a pre-pay basis. Adjustments can be made based on financial need.
We accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover.