Reviewer Kathy Johnson: Kathy is a book reviewer for a local newsletter and reviewed books for TCM Reviews before they went extinct. She has had various articles and children’s short stories published in magazines. She has a B.A. in English, and more than 10 years experience as a technical writer. Kathy currently lives in rural Trinity County, California and enjoys fishing and gardening as well as reading and reviewing books.
Author: Elizabeth A. Laugeson, PSY.D.
Do you know someone who has trouble making friends? A lot of self-help books give bland advice that doesn’t help in the long run, but this book is not a self help book. It is the first educational book on making friends I have seen that not only talks about the issues but gives instructions in an easy to follow format. This book is a genuine resource for parents, aides, and teachers who want to make a true difference for someone with social skills deficits. The book is based on PEERS (Program for the Educational Enrichment of Relational Skills) from UCLA.
The Chapters are arranged in a natural order for developing relational or friend making skills. Each part of the book addressing skills contains an introductory explanation of the purpose of the skill, the rules for applying the skill, example role plays both in the book and the accompanying dvd, and then practice tasks, a summary, and some exercises to practice the new skill. Each skill area is broken down into basic sub-skills.
The topics covered include why we should teach social skills to teens and young adults, how to find and choose good friends, the basics of good conversations, how to start or enter a conversation, how to exit a conversation, how to manage electronic communications, how to show good sportsmanship, how to enjoy a successful get together, and how to handle peer conflict or rejection.
The sections on handling peer conflict or rejection are especially important for teens or young adults because it addresses such topics as arguments, teasing, cyber bullying, rumors and gossip, avoiding physical bullying, changing a bad reputation.
The dvd shows examples of both successful social interactions and errors in social interaction that can affect whether the other person will want to continue interacting in future. For example, one of the role plays shows a person standing too closely during a conversation and how the other person reacts uncomfortably.
After reading the book, I discussed some of the ideas presented with my son who has autism. He was intrigued and encouraged to try the steps for himself. This book is useful for helping anyone who is struggling with how to make and keep friends. It is also an excellent resource for parents or teachers who are struggling to know how to help a youth who really wants to learn how to have and be a friend.