Ramsgate, South Sydney, Psychologist, SAS, Secret Agent Society, PEERS, Autism Spectrum Disorders, social skills, group programs, children, teenagers, adolescents, SAS trained, PEERS trained, emotions, friendships, ASD, ASHD, anxiety

the social hub for teens aged 13-17

Teen Headquarters is the hub in which detectives aged 13 to 17 years come together to build the skills and resilience needed to navigate the social world as a teen. Typically, children learn the basic rules of social etiquette through observation of peer behaviour and specific parental instruction. However, some individuals may require further instruction, particularly individuals who experience various social emotional difficulties include individuals on the Autism Spectrum (ASD). Learning social rules in adolescence can be more complex because the social milieu becomes more complex (moving away from play to conversation). The natural development of skills related to social etiquette comes primarily from positive and sustained peer interaction and learning from those social encounters. Distress often increases as children approach adolescence and they realise the complexities of teenage social interaction. As a result of this distress, individuals may isolate to avoid the complexities of social interaction. As a result, the absence of social interaction interrupts their social development, and therefore unusual or inappropriate social behaviours become more pronounced. When left untreated, as adults they may lack the community connections and friendships that are expected from typically developing adults. Thus, teaching skills necessary to make and keep friends may have significant lifelong gains for people on the autism spectrum as well as those experiencing various social-emotional difficulties.

Research evidence suggests that when appropriately planned and systematically delivered, social skills training has the potential to produce positive effects in the social interactions of adolescents with and without ASD. Teen HQ has adopted UCLA's  PEERS® program to achieve this goal, as it uses peer-mediated social skills interventions, all targeting core social and communication skills. Skills range from making and keeping friends and conversation, to strategies that help manage peer conflict, bullying and rejection. 





The PEERS® (Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills) is UCLA's highly acclaimed social skills program for teens aged 13-17 years of age. The PEERS® program is one of the only evidence-based interventions focusing on social skills for teens and adults with autism spectrum disorder, and has also been used clinically for adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, depression and other social challenges.


PEERS® is a 14-week evidence-based program to help teens learn how to make and keep friends whilst considering some of the common social complexities that come with being an adolescent. The PEERS® program, developed by Dr Elizabeth Laugeson, Founder and Director of the ULCA PEERS Programme and Dr Fred Frankel, enables individuals with social challenges:

  • To manage demands of the social world

  • Develop capacities for social referencing and engagement with others

  • Achieve an understanding of differing situations

  • Develop strategies to adjust responses appropriately

  • Achieve social goals (such as communicating ideas and forming friendships)

  • Develop skills for social reciprocity




Each skill discussed is complemented by homework assignments, reviews and fun socialisation activities that help teens practice these skills which improves their overall learning. Parents also attend sessions and are taught how to assist their teens by helping to expand their teen’s social network and providing feedback through coaching during weekly socialisation homework assignments. The great news is that the groups are fun, and most of the teens who participate in PEERS are able to improve their friendship skills by the end of the 14 weeks!

UCLA's PEERS® program differs from other programs as it involves:

  • A structured program that provides general social information to increase knowledge and develop problem solving skills

  • Parents and teens do homework assignments to generalise what was learnt in session to real life

  • Parents as an integral component of the intervention

  • Differential reinforcement strategies to improve social response from teens

  • Fun and engaging activities to practice social skills with peers

  • Parent coaching so that they can support social skill development at home

  • Various behaviour management techniques, such as self-monitoring, so that skills can be generalised in the real world

  • It focuses on "get togethers" to improve social participation

For more information on the PEERS® program go to https://www.semel.ucla.edu/peers/teens

We are now looking for candidates who may be interested in this local program. Contact us now as spots are limited! 


peers for teens