“My son has no friends. He just doesn’t see how he alienates other children.”

This parent plea is often heard by the staff of the Youth Services Department of Elk Grove Township. Fortunately, help is available, in the form of Social Skills Groups that are offered, year around, at the Youth Services office at 401 W. Golf Road, Mount Prospect, and also at various Elk Grove Township elementary and junior high schools.

“For several years, parents have been requesting help with their sons or daughters who show substantial difficulty understanding how their words and actions affect others,” notes Challenge Program Coordinator Renee Dorn. “Many of these children suffer from Asperger’s disorder, and their parents are worried about their life-long success.”

Other children, who have shown more success, participate in our groups as well, providing mentorship and role modeling. “Importantly, we can make a real difference, and do teach these children basic social skills that others simply take for granted,” said Dorn.

Children that are appropriate for the Social Skills Groups often lack the ability to examine ‘other’s’ points of view, or the ability to discuss the ‘others’ interest, and make compromises. The program uses physical activities, group discussion and social stories to empower these children to develop strategies that enable them to make and keep friends.  Importantly, the program also uses a ‘social thinking’ skill development curriculum to improve communication and social interactions.

The Youth Services Department offers groups for boys and girls (combined) for ages 7 to 10 and 11 to 14.  For more information, contact Renee Dorn at 847-981-0373.