Certified Training for Mental Health Professionals

Evidence-Based Social Skills Training for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Their Parents

Course Description

The PEERS® Certified Training for Mental Health Professionals is designed exclusively for psychologists, MFTs, LCSWs, speech and language pathologists, clinical researchers, and other mental health professionals or educators who are interested in learning to implement PEERS®. PEERS® is the ONLY available evidence-based social skills program for adolescents and adults with ASD, and is used clinically for youth with ADHD, Anxiety, Depression and other social challenges. Attendees will obtain 24 hours of training regarding use of the PEERS® Treatment Manual (Laugeson & Frankel) and the research behind the program. This training will enable mental health professionals and educators to implement this 14-week parent-assisted program as PEERS® Certified Providers.

The 14-week PEERS® Treatment Manual brings UCLA?s highly acclaimed and internationally recognized PEERS® intervention into the community and/or school setting using:
-90-minute weekly lesson plans for adolescent and parent groups 
-Concrete rules and steps of social skills for making and keeping friends
-Proven strategies for handling peer rejection and conflict
-Unique and fun activities for adolescents to practice newly learned skills
-Corresponding homework assignments to generalize skills
-Parent handouts outlining the skills and homework assignments
-Tips for therapists to prepare for lessons and strategies for overcoming potential pitfalls
-An overview of the research underlying this program

Topics of Instruction in the PEERS® Treatment Manual:
-How to use appropriate conversational skills
-How to start, enter, and exit conversations with peers
-How to appropriately use electronic forms of communication
-How to find friends and choose relevant social networks
-How to appropriately use humor and assess humor feedback 
-How to organize and have get-togethers with friends
-How to be a good sport during games and activities
-How to handle arguments and disagreements with friends
-How to handle teasing, physical bullying, cyber bullying, and rumors or gossip
-How to change a bad reputation

Attendees will have the unique opportunity to learn directly from Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson, co-developer of PEERS®, on the effective administration of this empirically supported program. Dr. Laugeson, Founder and Director of the UCLA PEERS® Clinic, will serve as the course instructor throughout training.

Learning Objectives for Training

-Attendees will learn about the friendship and social difficulties common to adolescents with autism spectrum disorder and other social challenges.
-Attendees will learn how to conduct group social skills training to adolescents and parents.
-Attendees will become familiar with the PEERS® Treatment Manual and the research upon which it is founded.
-ttendees will be equipped with the tools to deliver PEERS® in community mental health, medical, research, or educational settings.

Training Materials

Each attendee will receive the following training materials on-site:
-Social Skills for Teenagers with Developmental and Autism Spectrum Disorders: The PEERS Treatment Manual (Laugeson & Frankel, 2010)
-A sample binder of training materials (Research Articles, Book Chapters, Teen Pre Measures, Teen Pre and Post Outcome Measures, Teacher Letters and Pre and Post Outcome Measures, Parent Pre Measures, Parent Pre and Post Outcome Measures, etc.).

Training is conducted by Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson, co-developer of PEERS®, using the following training methods:
-Interactive and comprehensive didactic instruction in using the treatment manual
-Video demonstrations of adolescent social skills groups
-Live role-play demonstrations and behavioral rehearsals exercises of targeted social skills.