Social skills instruction embedded into social activities -- the way it should be!
Destination Friendship Developing Social Skills for Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorders or Other Social Challenges Written was written by a team of two board-certified behavior analysts, special educators, a speech-language pathologist, and an occupational therapist,
This book provides easy-to-use, research-based strategies and activities that support the development of friendship skills in children with ASD within an active and fun learning environment. From the initial session, participants learn that what they say and do has a direct impact on others.
Adult Tour Guides (TGs) act as a personal GPS system by offering subtle coaching and social scripting throughout theme-based sessions that include social activities and situations in which children have immediate opportunities to practice their friendship skills. The Friendship Skills Checklist, a valuable tool included in this book, enables the user to identify the strengths and needs of individuals with ASD, resulting in a comprehensive assessment and interest inventory that can be used to guide social instruction and support. Foreword by Brenda Smith Myles, Ph.D.
As director of the YMCA, I'm excited to be able to partner with the facilitators/coaches of the Destination Friendship program to provide this valuable program to our members and community by providing meeting space. My motivation was personal as well since I have a nephew (now 20 years old) who could benefit from participating. The DESTINATION FRIENDSHIP book will benefit professionals, parents, counselors, teachers, just about anyone who loves children. It is well written, easy to understand, and full of useful exercises and hands-on tools. Many of the activities are such that they can be used with all children - in summer day camp, leadership groups, and after-school programs.
--Kim Tuschak, BS, director, West Shore YMCA, Camp Hill, PA
These ladies get it. DESTINATION FRIENDSHIP is a program both parents and children love. The concrete pictures, lessons, and lists provide children on the autism spectrum a feeling of comfort and support while they try new things. My son took this course at a local YMCA with these four authors. A child's growth is documented in easily understood, personalized, and rewarding ways. I knew my son was understood and I saw a profound growth in his ability to socialize as a result of his participation in the program. This book would be a great asset for schools to use in inservices to help general education teachers figure out how to work successfully with kids on the spectrum. I can also see a special ed. teacher or other adults using it to lead a small group of kids with the activities.
--Khrystina Gleason, mother and elementary school volunteer
This book will be a wonderful resource for anyone interested in building self-esteem and developing and improving friendship and relationship skills of individuals with ASD. Any professional (SLP, OT, guidance counselor, general and special educator, etc.), family member, or community organization interested in helping individuals with social challenges make connections with others will find this book easy to read, with ready-to-use materials and activities that will help drive the development of programming. As a speech-language pathologist working in an educational setting with a growing emphasis on evidence-based practices, the table showing the link between the Destination Friendship Model and current research provided me with the knowledge of reassurance that strategies I use from this book are indeed 'best practice.'
--Kelly McAndrews, MS, CCC-SLP, Mountain Top, PA
MEET THE AUTHORS
Mary Benton, MEd, BCBA, is a retired special education consultant for the Capital Area Intermediate Unit in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Mary has a private practice as a board-certified behavior analyst serving individuals with autism spectrum disorder and/or developmental disabilities. Additionally, she is the co-founder of Destination Friendship, an organization that provides fun, community-based opportunities targeted at developing friendship skills in children, and adolescents with ASD. Mary has presented at national, state, and local conferences and has a life-long passion for working with individuals with special needs, their families, and schools to build skills that will improve and increase their quality of life.
Carol Hollis, MEd, BCBA, is an educational consultant for autism with the Capital Area Intermediate Unit in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In this role, Carol provides guided practice, training, and technical assistance to general and special educators in grades K-12. Carol and her therapy dog, Lily, also provide enrichment to students by visiting classrooms. Carol has presented at national, state, and local conferences and is a board member of the Harrisburg chapter of the Autism Society. She particularly enjoys volunteering at several events sponsored by ASA for individuals with ASD and their families.
Kelly Mahler, MS, OTR/L, a pediatric occupational therapist in the Central Pennsylvania region, specializes in the development of self-regulation and social cognition skills. Additionally, Kelly is the co-founder of Destination Friendship which is an organization providing fun, community-based opportunities targeted at developing friendship skills in children, adolescents, and teenagers with ASD. Kelly is the author of Hygiene and Related Behaviors for Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum and Related Disorders: A Fun Curriculum with a Focus on Social Understanding, High-Functioning Autism and Sensory Issues: Practical Solutions for Making Sense of the World, and Interoception: The Eighth Sensory System. She has presented at numerous national, state and local conferences. Kelly resides with her family in York, PA.
Alice Womer, MS, CCC-SLP, is the creator of the concept of curve line-straight line thinking and co-author of the children's book Curvy Herbie and Straight Nate: A Lesson in Curve Line Thinking. She has presented locally and at the national level. Alice and her co-authors offer evening Destination Friendship groups in the community targeted at developing friendship skills in children and adolescents.
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