Overview of PEERS

(Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills)

Curriculum developed by Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson, UCLA

The Delaware Department of Education partnered with the Delaware Positive Behavior Support Project to address the need of providing evidence-based social skills curriculum for secondary students. The DE State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG) funds this initiative that supports multiple districts throughout the state.

The curriculum is intended for higher functioning adolescents without significant intellectual disabilities, focusing on skills related to making and keeping friends and managing peer conflict and rejection. Lessons include having two-way conversations, entering and exiting conversations, electronic forms of communication, choosing appropriate friends, using humor appropriately, being a good sport, having successful get-togethers, managing arguments with friends, and handling teasing, physical bullying, and other forms of social rejection. PEERS teaches social skills using concrete rules and steps of social behavior and utilizes the Socratic method, role-play demonstrations, perspective taking questions, rehearsal exercises, coaching with feedback, and homework assignments as teaching methods.

Lessons are intended to be delivered in the order they are presented, and the curriculum is meant to be used in its entirety with students. It is typically used with middle and high school students who have difficulty making and keeping friends (such as those with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, depression, anxiety, and other challenges).

Lessons are taught daily in the classroom for 30-60 minutes at a time, 4-5 days per week, over a 16-week period. Recommended class size is between 7-10 students.

For more information, please contact Debby Boyer (dboyer@udel.edu) and visit the PEERS website.