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Social Skills/Self-Regulation Group: A Reflection
Our fall social skills/self-regulation group has just come to an end and I’m left with mixed emotions. On one hand, I’m excited; seven children have completed the program and are now equipped with new skills to enhance their social interactions and self-regulate. In contrast, I’m also sad and feeling a sense of longing. Being able to witness the participants learn and take in the information each week filled me with a constant sense of pride, joy, and fulfillment.
To provide you with some background, our social skills/self-regulation group is a 10-week program that is run by myself (an occupational therapist) and Carolyn Davidson, a speech-language pathologist. Depending on the number of participants, we may also have an experienced volunteer present to assist (in the case of our most recent group, we did). Group programming is based on two esteemed and reputable curriculum; Superflex® and The Zones of Regulation®. As a way to meet the individual needs to the children enrolled, we may adapt elements of the programs, as necessary. Social skills and self-regulation are taught in a fun and motivating way, making use of role-play, games, videos, arts and crafts and equipment in the sensory gym.
As clinicians, our primary objectives with the social skills/self-regulation group are to ensure that new skills are being developed and that overall confidence is improving. By providing the children with “tools to put into their toolbox”, we’re equipping them with ways to manage outside of the group setting. Anything extra is an added bonus, which certainly occurred over the course of the last group session. Not only did the concepts really seem to resonate, but self-esteem appears to have improved in all of the children. What was most interesting was that by week three, the whole group dynamic shifted. Those who were more introverted and shy volunteered to role-play and participate, and teamwork/helping behavior was quite apparent from thereon. Parents reported noticeable changes that were taking place at home and school, as well.
I’m always amazed at the benefits that group programs offer. There is much research to suggest that working amongst peers with similar issues/concerns leads to the most positive outcomes. I’m pleased to say this this theory is being proven here at Boomerang Health!
I’m looking forward to meeting a great new group of children in January when our winter social skills/self-regulation group begins. There are still a few spaces available. Feel free to give us a call if you’d like more information and/or to determine if your child might be a good candidate.