Adolescence. Developmentally, this time is called the transition to adulthood, and we as teams develop plans, outline trajectories, and write goals to facilitate the process. We teach the importance of both academic and social skills, but at the end of the day it's not uncommon to hear, "No thanks, I'm just gonna design video games so I don't really need to learn that other stuff." No matter where we travel around the globe, we answer similar questions about helping teens transition from childhood to young adulthood. Parents and professionals welcome information on realistic planning and preparation to guide our students to better prepare for the social demands of the adult world.
This transition can overwhelm individuals born to social learning challenges, even if they are considered bright and have solid to strong language skills (e.g., ASD level 1 & 2, ADHD, twice exceptional, learning disabilities, nonverbal learning disabilities, specific language impairment, sensory dysregulation, etc.). This course focuses on helping parents and professionals (including teachers, counselors, psychologists, speech-language pathologists, etc.) prepare for—and respond to—this transition. Specifically, we will relate research-based concepts to an exploration of the more nuanced expectations that come with the emergence into adulthood and the strategies to help individuals develop a more mature social mindset.
The day is organized into five chapters:
Chapter 1: Learn to understand a teen’s perspective of their own and others’ social minds and related expectations, individualized learning of strengths and weaknesses, the social-academic connection, the power of our inner-coach, the power of our self-defeater, the connection to cognitive behavioral therapy, social competencies, and the Five Levels of Social Conformity.
Chapter 2: Adulthood and independence don’t always go together. We will define and explore many levels of achieving independence. We will also review how the law changes as a student moves out of K–12 education and into adulthood.
Chapter 3: Briefly explore the different levels of the social mind and tips for teaching and job coaching our more literal-minded individuals. A case study will be reviewed.
Chapter 4: Discuss our clinical experience and related research in working with students who seem resistant to social-emotional learning and working as part of a group. In this very popular chapter, we will examine the perspective of the resistant (self-protective) learner as it relates to the strategies that encourage self-learning and increased collaboration and those sure to meet further resistance. Student examples will be shared along with other resources we find helpful.
Chapter 5: Teach teens who have subtle but significant social learning challenges to establish and manage their own public relations and self-management campaigns. We will also discuss related mental health challenges such as social anxiety. Strategies to encourage motivation and guide learning about one’s own executive functioning, the perspective of self and other, friendship, and the subtleties of social communication will be reviewed with another case study, related video, and hands-on lessons.
All information draws from peer-reviewed published research but is translated into hands-on strategies, clear frameworks, and concepts to explore and discuss. The goal of this course is to help all parents and professionals develop a larger toolkit to better assist students to learn about their own executive functioning, sharpen their perspective taking, and begin to manage their own social lives. We focus on the fact that a successful treatment* program is one that helps the student achieve his or her own goals. This course receives stellar reviews!
*Treatment refers to using conceptual and strategy-based frameworks to help individuals improve their social thinking, skills, and competencies.