Leading authorities in social and emotional learning have concluded that levels of adjustment, psychological health, and academic achievement are directly related to a child’s social competency, emotional literacy, and ability to form successful peer relationships. Recognizing the importance of these factors, we place a strong emphasis on fostering prosocial behavior in developing children. Our unique social skills group is designed specifically to nurture these abilities, contributing to the holistic development of each child.
The mission of the Dragon Masters social skills group is to develop social competence and emotional literacy in young children. In our safe group environment, we encourage each child to experience and examine their peer interactions and navigate uncomfortable emotions.
The Dragon Masters Social Skills Groups, specifically tailored for children and adolescents with ADHD, focus on enhancing their ability to make and keep friends. Close friendships are paramount to healthy social and emotional development. In fact, research shows that not having a close friend by middle school can be a marker for life-long emotional challenges.
Who is this social skills group for?
We specialize in supporting clients with ADD/ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, or Autism Spectrum Disorder, conditions that often exacerbate challenges in socializing with others.
Our groups are open to all children between the ages of 8-16 who have been identified as struggling with social skill deficits and peer rejection, impacting their ability to form and maintain relationships. To ensure a safe and supportive environment, we maintain a strict policy against aggressive behavior in the group. The Dragon Masters Group is a bully-free zone!
What is our mission?
Our unique program is designed to assist your child in connecting with others so they begin to feel improved self-worth and enhanced self-esteem. As children experience acceptance and respect from their peers, their self-esteem naturally increases. This boost in confidence leads to better academic performance and reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Adults are the same way! We are social creatures. When you feel connected to your friends, you are more inclined to socialize with others.
As your child begins to learn how to make and keep friends, their confidence will grow. This newfound self-assurance will lead them to seek out more social opportunities, like playdates. Most importantly, they will gain the ability to sustain friendships, using the tools and strategies they learn about in our social skills group.
What is the secret to our success?
The Dragon Master Group is not just effective, it’s also fun! From our experience, a child needs to have fun in order to feel motivated to consistently participate over a long-term period. This approach has proven successful, as evidenced by our impressive retention rate of nearly 90%. Many of our clients remain with us for 3-4 years. It’s often in the second or third year that we witness enduring success.
This lasting impact highlights the limitations of manualized programs typical in other clinics. No child wants to be “taught” anything from a book or manual at 4pm on a Tuesday. While such programs might show progress at Week 8, they often fail to instill lasting behavioral changes, with most improvements fading six months post-program.
What will my child learn?
In our social skills group, we employ behavior modification techniques to encourage prosocial behaviors in a fluid and organic manner. When a child exhibits such behaviors – like sharing, listening, empathizing, or offering support – we reward them immediately. This not only motivates them to continue these prosocial behaviors, but also serves as a learning opportunity for the entire group, demonstrating the value of these actions.
As children progress and reach new levels of achievement, they are rewarded with distinct dragon-themed t-shirts, each signifying a step up in their journey. They can gradually rise in the ranks to the ultimate title of “Wizard”. To see the exciting range of dragon t-shirts your child can earn, please click here: Dragon Master Shirts.
Below are some of the skills your child will learn through the Dragon Masters Group.
Being a “Good Friend”
- Quietly listening to others
- Offering support and encouragement
- Offering a similar story or situation as a means of support
- Sharing a turn
- Being modest
Being Emotionally Honest
Children in our program receive active encouragement and rewards for being emotionally honest. They learn how to discuss uncomfortable topics, using “feeling” words and showing a willingness and the courage to “go deep”. Our aim is for children to become comfortable expressing uncomfortable emotions. This foundation equips them to grow into adults who are able to express their emotions confidently.
Additionally, children and adolescents will work on individual behaviors that are unique to them. They will gain greater acceptance, make friends, strengthen their communication skills, behave more appropriately, reduce anxiety, increase their frustration tolerance, and develop more confidence, ultimately leading to social success.
What do we do in the group?
The Dragon Masters Group meets once a week for one hour. During the first half, we facilitate a check-in where each child interviews another about their week. We place a special emphasis on asking how the other child felt, thus helping the interviewee learn to share their feelings in a prosocial way. The interviewer also learns to be empathetic, share similar feelings, and ask follow-up questions.
The second half of the social skills group is dedicated to free play. In our office, we offer a variety of games, ranging from board games to age-appropriate group video games. For our online group, Minecraft is the interactive platform. Here, children collaborate in building projects within the safe confines of our private server, or “Realm”. This playtime is not only enjoyable but also instrumental in developing team-building and cooperative skills.
The Sachs Center social skills groups were founded on a philosophy of individualized assessment. We identify each child’s specific strengths and weaknesses, set personalized goals, and monitor their progress each semester. Sessions are priced at $100 per hour. We currently meet Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 5 p.m. at our Upper West Side location.
The Dragon Masters, a unique social skills group for kids in New York City, is now online! Fill out the form below or call us now for more information 646-603-0491.
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