Social skills groups can be a great learning tool for children with ASDs. They can also be pretty expensive, but grants are available.

Making Connections: This is a very nice social skills group in Durham. It is run by Jennifer Kirschner (an SLP) and Sara Gage (who runs Camp Royall for ASNC). The groups are held on Saturday mornings, and they have classes for several different age groups. I would highly recommend them!

Solomon Kobes, LCSW: Solomon offers therapeutic social skills groups for boys 7-18, divided into age groups. His particular focus is boys with autism and/or ADHD, and the groups include games and activities to encourage sportsmanship, cooperation, non-verbal communication, and social boundaries. It's nice to see groups run by a male therapist, because Solomon "gets" how boys play and interact. Sessions run through the school year and also during the summer. 

TEACCH: They offer social skills sessions for children who are TEACCH clients. The social skills groups are held at the TEACCH center in Carrboro, and they try to group participants by age and level of functioning. Due to budget cuts, they have to charge for the social skills groups now, but they are still less expensive than privately run social skills groups.

Emerge A Child's Place Summer Sessions: Emerge is a group of pediatric occupational and speech therapists in Durham. Over the summer, they run a number of social skills groups for children of different ages, starting with preschoolers. Some of the camps for the elementary aged children have special themes like drama or cooking to help facilitate social interaction. Emerge also has camps for handwriting and anxiety. A few of their special sessions run year round.

Chapel Hill Parks and Rec: Parks and Rec offers several social skills classes through their adaptive programming. Classes may vary from one session to the next, but they generally have a Fun and Games Social Club for kids with AS/HFA aged 6 - 12 and an Asperger's / Autism Game Night for teens and young adults. The programs are designed to teach social and communication skills, sportsmanship, and cooperation through fun activities.

A Place to Grow: Pediatric occupational therapist Amy Loesch facilitates social groups at her home-based Durham occupational therapy practice. Her groups are based on Michelle Garcia Winner's Social Thinking philosophy. I do not have personal experience with A Place to Grow, but I hear great things about her groups and OT.

My Circle of Girls: A service and social group created for girls living with autism to bond and for their parents to connect. Monthly gatherings take place around the Triangle and include an activity focused on the girls and a My Circle meal. Currently serving girls ages 2-6, the group will be expanding in 2015 for ages 7-10, 11-14, and 15-18. Contact Dawn Dudley at for more information.

Big Dog Pediatric Psychology: Susan Moschos, Ph. D. leads social groups for elementary aged children with neurodevelopmental disorders from her home based office. The groups offer a supportive setting in which children learn social, problem-solving, and friendship skills. Of particular interest is that Dr. Moschos has a social skills group especially for girls. The sessions are offered at a very reasonable cost.

All content © 2016 by Chapel Hill Autism Resources and Tools (C.H.A.R.T.)

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