What We Do


To provide children with an opportunity outside of school hours to learn and practice social skills with their peers


  • Help children develop stronger social skills
  • Reduce sense of loneliness and frustration in children who struggle socially
  • Increase children’s self-confidence with their peers

The Program

The Social Smarts Foundation, Inc. runs social skills groups for children in grades K-10.  The program is open to children with mild to moderate special needs and have social skills deficits.  Additionally, children with no special needs but who may need to refine their social skills are also encouraged to register.

In all sessions, we will work on:

  • Expanding repertoire of play
  • Conversation skills during play
  • Initiating play
  • Conflict resolution
  • Program customized to participants’ needs

The K-2/3-4 program is an afterschool playdate that is facilitated by behavioral specialists.  We focus on building social skills through cooperative building (i.e., Legos), sports and typical playdate activities, as well as out in the community.  Our pre-teen/teen groups focus on building social skills through conversation, games, and community-based activities.  Other highlights of our unique program include:

  • Low child to instructor ratio, plus additional volunteers onsite
  • Programming developed collectively by a BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst), Child Psychologist, behavioral therapists, parents, and teachers
  • Utilization of peer models
    • Socially proficient children will participate in the program in order to provide strong examples of appropriate play, expected behavior, and communication
  • Each program session will be customized to participants’ needs which will be determined through client intake process
  • Weekly recaps and mini progress reports sent to families
  • Recommendations will be provided to families to carry through at home
  • Consultations with Kristin Foley, M.Ed, BCBA (free of charge) offered during some of our 6-week sessions


Community Sessions

  • Sessions take place out in the community
  • Sample sessions include trips to the park for kickball and wiffle ball, Bricks for Kidz workshops, eating in a restaurant, mindfulness/meditation classes, art classes, grocery shopping scavenger hunts, Yestercades, Chocolate Works, and more

Sports and Recess Sessions

  • Popular sports such as soccer and basketball, as well as popular recess games.
  • Children will learn basic skills and appropriate play/interaction, while focusing on teamwork, building strong communication skills, resolving conflict, and practicing good sportsmanship

In one study, elementary school students who received explicit instruction in good sportsmanship showed greater leadership and conflict-resolution skills than did their control group peers (Sharpe et al 1995).

Cooperative Building Sessions

  • Cooperative building with Legos and K’nex
  • Children will learn appropriate interaction, turn-taking, and cooperation within their building team.
  • Children will be placed in groups of 2-3 and each child will perform a different role while building, and the roles will be rotated.
  • Conversation skills will be addressed during a task which can cause many children to hyper-focus.
In one study of patients with high-functioning autism and Asperger’s syndrome, school children attended a one hour session of group construction play once a week for 18 weeks. Compared with kids given special training in the social use of language, the kids in the construction group showed greater improvement in their social interactions (Owens et al 2008). Other research indicates that the benefits of these experiences last for years (Legoff and Sherman 2006)

Mock Playdate Sessions


  • Children will learn appropriate play/interaction and strategies to utilize when frustrated during peer interaction, as well as practice flexibility.
  • Children will learn how to negotiate and utilize an activity schedule, and how to transition to/from activities.
  • Children will also practice conversation skills, manners, and snack time etiquette




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