FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Will my child have fun at social group?
Yes! Although we are using evidence based therapeutic methods to teach social skills, your child will feel as though they are in just a play group for making new friends. Our primary goals for your child are they feel safe, have fun, and learn. Our groups utilize naturalistic teaching methods embedded in play activities throughout the session. The structure of play groups is as follows:
Open Play - choice of 2-4 play activities with teachers modeling and coaching
Meeting - 15 minute structured time at rug to learn social/regulation/friendship skills
Small Group - 15 minute whole group activity to practice learned skills
Free Choice with a friend - Children get to select preferred play activities and practice how to invite/respond/negotiate
Are caregivers in the room during social groups?
No, caregivers do not attend the social group sessions. You are welcome to wait in our lobby, run errands, or relax in your car while your child is in group. If your child struggles with significant separation anxiety from you, we will work together to create a plan that helps your child separate over the first few sessions. We videotape during each session in order to share your child's progress and demonstrate effective strategies. All videos are confidential and only viewed by parents in your child's group. Videos are shown during parent meetings.
How are parents involved with social groups?
At the end of each social group session, we provide a brief summary of the big idea of the day (however, we are competing with your children, who are excited to also share your attention!). At times, we may have written materials to share as well. In addition, parent meetings are a critical component of our social groups in order to enhance your child's success. We schedule 45-60 minute meetings with parents quarterly via Zoom. During these meetings, we share videos from group, discuss your child's progress and goals, including how to implement strategies at home. We also address any concerns parents have at home or school. Parents are welcome to request meetings more frequently if preferred - see Our Services for more information,
Who attends social groups at Peers Play?
We serve a variety of children with social and emotional needs. Your child does not need to have any specific diagnosis to attend our social groups, however we do often support children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, anxiety, social anxiety, sensory processing disorder, among others. Many of our parents describe their children as "socially quirky" and needing support with building and maintaining friendships. Due to COVID, we are also serving a lot of children who have been isolated and having difficulty re-entering social spaces. Because we use a variety of cognitive-based interventions, our social groups would not be appropriate for children with significant intellectual disabilities, as they would not benefit from our curriculum. If you aren't sure if this would be a barrier for your child, please fill out an inquiry form.
Who teaches social groups at Peers Play?
All social groups are run by Gusty-Lee Boulware, PhD, BCBA-D, LBA and Sara Molina, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA (see Our Team). When your child attends social groups with us, you will be placed with either Gusty-Lee or Sara as your primary parent support provider, although both will teach your child in their group. When groups are larger (8-12 children), we also utilize the support of our assistant, Crystal Towle, to ensure that all children receive the ratio of support that they need.
My child is aggressive - can they attend social groups?
We often teach children emotion regulation coping strategies to replace mild aggression, however we cannot support children who exhibit a degree of aggression that puts the safety of themselves or others at risk during our social groups. We have a ratio of about 1 teacher to 3 children, which means we can give periodic 1:1 attention and implement a support plan to help children with mild aggression, but we cannot provide 1:1 support through the entire session.
Will my health insurance cover the cost of social groups?
If your child has a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, you may be able to submit our superbill to your insurance company to seek reimbursement for out of network coverage, although this is not guaranteed even with a diagnosis. Our scope for providing documentation for preauthorization is very limited and we do not work with many insurance companies. If your child has no diagnosis or a different diagnosis than Autism Spectrum Disorder, it is rare that your insurance will cover any portion of our services. If cost is a barrier to services, some scholarships are available.
How long do social group sessions run?
Peers Play is a year-round program with a different schedule for Sept-June while children are in school, and July-August during summer. When you sign up, you enroll your child in a specific group that meets weekly, and we hold that spot for your child. You are not required to commit for any period of time, but we do require two weeks notice so that we are able to fill your child's spot if you discontinue services. You are welcome to fill out an inquiry form at any time during the year to request services.
Am I charged if my child is absent from group?
Because we reserve a spot for your child in group each week, we require your child to be present or we will have to charge a $50 missed group fee. However, we understand that a year-round commitment is difficult to maintain, so we allow 1 absence each quarter without a fee, and we also have some flexibility when circumstances are extraneous. If your insurance reimburses you for services, please keep in mind that you cannot be reimbursed for the cost of a missed group fee.
My child is struggling at school! Can you help us?
Yes! Often times, children in our social groups need support in their school-based programs. We provide consultation services, which often includes a 2 hour school observation and a followup team meeting with parents and school personnel. Collaborating with parents and school staff allows us to better support your child in group and, in turn, provide effective strategies for teachers to employ at school for increased success in multiple environments. Please see Our Services for more information.
Can you help us with our child's IEP or 504 Plan at school?
Yes! When your child is in one of social groups, it's quite seamless for us to contribute to your child's IEP or 504 plan. We can review your child's plan and provide input based on our interventions in group, and we can serve as advocates for your child in meetings with school personnel.
How can I arrange playdates with other families from group?
You're always welcome to ask us which children from group would be a great playdate partner for your child, and we can check in with their parents for consent to connect you via email. Alternatively, you're welcome to chat with other parents in the lobby yourself both for playdates and connection. We have had many families build lifelong friendships in our lobby, both between parents and children!
What is your COVID policy for social groups?
Peers Play is providing in-person social groups, which means that we have multiple means of mitigating the risk of COVID to children and teachers in our groups. We are still requiring masks in group and in the lobby for parents and children. Upon arrival, children's temperatures are taken and they are given hand sanitizer. We frequently disinfect surfaces and toys in our facility. We ask that all families are transparent with us when anyone in their family has been exposed to COVID, has symptoms, or has a positive COVID test.