How do you measure success of a social skills program for children? Are there specific evaluation tools to use? Do you collect and analyze data during the final group sessions? Do parents and teachers complete yet another questionnaire or survey?
Success can be found in the functional outcomes of the group…
When a parent reports that her painfully quiet 8 year old son raised his hand for the first time in 2 years to talk in class
When a mother delightfully comments on a happy play date
When an 11 year old girl exclaims that she has had play dates with another girl in the group because “the girl wanted to be friends with me! She called me!”
When a child on the autism spectrum breaks out in a big smile and says, “that was a joke, right?”
When a father reports that his child is asking him questions.
When a boy initiates play for the first time with the phrase, “I have an idea!”
When children are caught reminding other to “watch their bubble space”
When a child meets a new friend for the first time and asks questions rather than talks about himself
Success is in the outcome. If children show beginning understanding of what it means to be a friend and how to follow social cues, significant, measurable progress had been made.
Jill Perry MHA, M.S. OTR/L