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Thursday, December 14, 2017

As parents, we all want for our kids the best that life can offer. We want our children to succeed, feel protected and to have a sense of belonging. For some children and teens, finding “their place” among their peers can be challenging. They may experience challenges in a wide range of social settings, including family gatherings, school, camp etc. And as parents, we feel deep concern and sadness when our children appear lost and often lonely, not fully aware of why they may not be socially accepted.

Social skills are essential in living a happy and fulfilling life. Seeking out help for our children can benefit them as they learn the skills necessary to be more successful in social situations. According to The American Journal of Public Health, “a 20-year study shows a link between children’s social skills in kindergarten and their well-being in adulthood” (Robert Wood Johnson, 2015) In addition, according to Kristin Schubert, program director at the Robert Wood Johnson Hospital, “the study shows that helping children develop social and emotional skills is one of the most important things we can do to prepare them for a healthy future.”

Friendship Solutions LLC has been designed to focus exclusively on working with individuals to develop more adaptive social skills. Our goal is to identify and prioritize the social-skills needs of each of our students and incorporate the teaching of these goals into our sessions. Importantly, we incorporate evidence-based approaches to maximize the opportunities to succeed in our group setting as well as outside of our group setting.

Friendship Solutions LLC provides afterschool social-skills programs on a weekly basis for kids and teens between the ages of 4 and 18. We utilize the principles of applied behavior analysis, an evidence-based approach, in a supportive, nurturing and fun environment to help our students learn and practice skills that are so critical in navigating the complex social world. Our motto is “Building Skills One Step at a Time,” recognizing that every little step counts and contributes to giant leaps in becoming more successful in social situations.

Who We Are and Our Target Groups

Friendship Solutions LLC is managed by two Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) with extensive experience serving the needs of children with autism spectrum disorders, ADHD and other developmental disorders.

Our programs are geared for any child or teen that experiences challenges in social settings. We have worked with children and teens that have an autism diagnosis and ADHD, and other students who have no formal diagnosis but need help and guidance.

When Do We Meet?

Our programs run Monday through Thursday, with one-hour sessions held from 4 to 7 p.m. Each session concludes with a brief session with parents or caregivers. This allows the therapists to share details of the session in order for the parent or caregiver to continue to work on the skills outside of the weekly session. Additionally, parent training in the home setting and school coordination is available upon request.

What Skills Do We Target?

The skills that are taught are specific to the unique needs of our small groups, but here is a sampling of some of those skills: greetings, accepting no, compromising and flexibility, accepting losing and winning, attending, conversation, understanding social cues, personal space, showing interest, body language, problem solving, emotional regulation and so much more.

Getting Started

We invite you to give us a call and schedule an assessment appointment. We will meet with you and your child to determine goals and best placement. We hope to have the opportunity to help you help your child or teen in building their social skills “one step at a time”!

Call Eileen Stauber, BCBA, at 201-390-8017 or Cassie Romano, BCBA, at 214-701-2744, or email us at [email protected].

Eileen Stauber works as a Board Certified Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) at a Bergen County Public School working with students ranging in age from preschool through high school. She has been working in the field of applied behavior analysis for over a decade creating and implementing strategies designed to help individuals learn and develop more adaptive skills in their schools and communities. Eileen earned her BA in psychology at the State University of New York at Albany and obtained a graduate certificate for Applied Behavior Analysis through Penn State University.

Cassie Romano has been working with both children and adults who have autism and other developmental disorders for the past 10 years. She obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of South Dakota in psychology, and also has a master’s in clinical psychology. She continued to pursue her passion for helping others with autism by becoming a board certified behavior analyst in 2014. Cassie currently works at Bergen County Special Services (BCSS) as a behavior specialist for the middle school and high school.

By Eileen Stauber and Cassie Romano

 Eileen and Cassie are partners at Friendship Solutions LLC in Hackensack.