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Executive Function and Social Skills Groups

Join us for our executive function and social skills groups for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at the Children's National Montgomery County, 15245 Shady Grove Road, Suite 350, Rockville, Md., 20850.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our ability to offer group interventions has changed. Available groups will be offered via secure telehealth platform (Zoom) only. Please consider if this format will work for your child prior to registering.

Registration for the following groups is now closed. Check this web page for future updates about when registration will reopen:

Flexibility and Friendship

Targets: Social skills and flexibility in young children, ages 4-5, with ASD through a play-based and story-based curriculum
Best for: Kids with ASD who can answer direct questions about things that happened to them at another time
Led by: A clinical psychologist and a speech/language pathologist with expertise in executive functioning and social communication in ASD
Registration: Registration is currently closed. Please check this web page for future updates and the next opportunity to register.

Children learn:

  • How to play games and pretend together
  • How to change their play plans when needed
  • Coping skills
  • Sharing and taking turns
  • Early conversation skills

In their own group, parents receive coaching on:

  • How to support kids in using their new skills at home
  • Strategies for young children with ASD on a variety of topics, such as picky eating, planning play dates and school supports

For more info: Email Allison Ratto, Ph.D., with the subject line "Flexibility and Friendship Group."

Unstuck and On Target

Targets: Elementary school students, ages 8-10, with ASD foundational executive function concepts and skills
Best for: Students with average or above average cognitive abilities
Led by: A clinical psychology fellow and a speech/language pathologist with expertise in executive functioning and social communication in ASD
Registration: Registration is currently closed. Please check this web page for future updates and the next opportunity to register.

Children learn:

  • Social skills that emphasize the importance of flexibility and compromise in creating positive interactions with peers
  • Flexible planning
  • Problem solving
  • Coping skills

For more info: Email Allison Ratto, Ph.D., with the subject line "Unstuck and On Target Group."

On Target for Life

Targets: Middle school students with ASD, ages 11-13 or in grades 6-8, focusing on how to improve executive function skills such as flexible problem-solving, planning and organization
Best for: Students with average or above average cognitive abilities, due to the language demands of the curriculum
Led by: A clinical psychologist with expertise in executive functioning and emotional issues in ASD
Registration: Registration is now closed for this group is now closed.

Children learn:

  • How flexibility and polite interactions are tied to gaining social power with others, which helps them achieve their goals
  • How to work together to create a long-term plan for a group goal

For more info: Email Serene Habayeb, Ph.D., with the subject line "On Target for Life Group."

Flexible Futures (via telehealth)

Age and skill level: Diploma-track students, ages 16-19
Targets
: Executive function skills
Led by: A clinical psychologist with expertise in executive functioning in ASD
Registration: Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the entirety of this 24-week group will be held via telehealth. We anticipate a start date in September/October 2020. Groups will be held via a secure telehealth platform (Zoom) on Wednesdays from 3-3:45 p.m. 

Children learn:

  • Neurodiversity
  • Self-advocacy
  • Sustained motivation for long-term goals
  • Handling stress
  • Creating a positive reputation
  • Skills in compromising
  • How to select a goal important to the group and work on achieving their goal for the duration of the sessions 

For more info: Email Cara Pugliese, Ph.D., with the subject line "Flexible Futures Group." View course flyer.