1. How is the Friends Grow Friends program structured?
Each week our group will begin with an interactive structured discussion on one or more age appropriate and relevant social skills, including making friends, conversation and communication, self-advocacy, identifying common interests, flexibility and more. Our lessons are based on the principles of evidence-based social skills curriculum. Additionally, the children will engage in different activities that address a variety of social skills in a natural environment. Our instructors serve as coaches to the children, and help facilitate and navigate interaction within the group and provide the kids with useful social strategies. We highlight “teachable” moments and reinforce appropriate social behavior.
2. What are the backgrounds of the Friends Grow Friends instructors?
Please visit https://friendsgrow.org/about-us/
3. Is my child a good fit for your program?
Some of the children who we serve have mild to moderate special needs while some have no diagnosis but struggle socially. All of the children in our program are interested in building friendships and finding peers with whom they share similar interests. Our groups best serve students who require support and instruction to further peer relationships. Students in our groups typically do not currently engage in high risk behaviors such as aggression towards peers and elopement, and typically do not require 1:1 support.
4. What is the instructor to student ratio in each group?
We aim to maintain a 1:4 instructor to student ratio in each group.
5. I saw that your website talks about peer and high school mentors. Who are they and what do they do?
All of our social skills friendship clubs include peer mentors who are similarly aged students who provide a strong example of pro-social behavior. We utilize our peer mentors to help more naturally facilitate conversation within the groups as well as to provide respectful feedback. The kids don’t know who is a peer mentor and who is not — everyone participates in the same way!
Similarly, our groups include high school mentors. High school mentors also participate in activities alongside the children, provide a strong model of pro-social behavior, help instructors facilitate social interaction between the participants, and assist with logistics, setup, and cleanup. We also utilize our high school mentors to help more naturally facilitate conversation within the groups as well as to provide respectful feedback to participants.
6. Does Friends Grow Friends accept insurance?
Unfortunately, we do not accept insurance. However, we do offer scholarships and payment plans to families in need.
7. Will I be updated on my child’s progress?
FGF sends out a recap of the group and progress notes for your child after week 4 and week 8. We focus on the child’s strengths as well as the areas of development on which we are working. New for Fall 2022: we will collect data to provide parents with both an objective and subjective account of their child’s progress throughout the session.
8. Why are the groups referred to as “social skills friendship clubs”?
Social skills friendship clubs more accurately represents what FGF does — not only do we teach and reinforce social skills, but FGF is a place where kids come to make friends.
9. Do you run virtual groups?
We run our video gaming groups virtually at this time. We also offer private small group sessions by appointment.
10. Can I request a phone call to discuss my child’s progress with your staff?
Yes! We are more than happy to speak with you further if you have questions that remain unanswered by your child’s progress notes.
11. Will you collaborate with my child’s school or outside providers?
Yes! If you would like us to speak with anyone on your child’s team, we will request that you sign a Release of Information form. We appreciate and encourage collaboration with other professionals in your child’s life in order to ensure consistency.