How do you know if your child is learning new social skills? One method is to compare parent ratings before and after the intervention, which is exactly what I did for two of my social skills groups in NYC that I led this past Fall 2013 for children ages 7-9 & 10-12.
The Kids: 11 children, 3 girls and 8 boys. There were actually 14 kids overall who completed the program but not all parents completed the pre and post parent rating scales. Kids had varying diagnoses but all with solid language and cognitive abilities and no behavioral problems. Kids attended public, private and special education schools.
Procedure: Group met for 9 weeks, for 60 minutes each group. 3 Co-leaders. Parents rated their child based on what they saw outside of group before and after group. The online rating scale measured the social skills being taught in this NYC based group. We used a structured teaching model: skill definition, video demonstration, supervised child practice, reward time and then review. One skill was taught each week and reinforced in group via SocialStars (spontaneous pro-social behaviors) and reward free play. During the last 10 minutes, I met with the parents separately to review the homework from the prior week, review the new skill being taught, and practice the new homework.
Results: Comparing total pre-group scores with total post-group scores, both groups improved by about 20%. The younger group improved the most in self control, while the older group improved the most in apologizing and accepting blame. Click on the graphs below to enlarge.
Discussion: I’m very happy with these results, as are the parents. The children learned new skills because we taught them explicitly and the parents reinforced them at home. Some children were also on an eDRC at school for similar difficulties. I try to measure outcomes like this each semester to make sure kids are learning and applying what is being taught.
Written by Joshua Rosenthal, PsyD