The Science of Making Friends, (w/DVD): Helping Socially Challenged Teens and Young Adults

The groundbreaking book that puts the focus on teens and young adults with social challenges This book offers parents a step-by-step guide to making and keeping friends for teens and young adults with social challenges–such as those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, bipolar, or other conditions. With the book’s concrete rules and steps of social etiquette, parents will be able to assist in improving conversational skills, expanding social opportunities, and developing strategies for handling peer rejection. Each chapter provides helpful overview information for parents; lessons with clear bulleted lists of key rules and steps; and expert advice on how to present the material to a teen or young adult. Throughout the book are role-playing exercises for practicing each skill, along with homework assignments to ensure the newly learned skills can be applied easily to a school, work, or other “real life” setting. The bonus DVD shows role-plays of skills covered, demonstrating the right and wrong way to enter conversations, schedule get-togethers, deal with conflict, and much more. PART ONE: GETTING READY Ch. 1: Why Teach Social Skills to Teens and Young Adults? PART TWO: THE SCIENCE OF DEVELOPING AND MAINTAINING FRIENDSHIPS Ch. 2: Finding and Choosing Good Friends Ch. 3: Good Conversations: The Basics Ch. 4: Starting and Entering Conversations Ch. 5: Exiting Conversations Ch. 6: Managing Electronic Communication Ch. 7: Showing Good Sportsmanship Ch. 8: Enjoying Successful Get-Togethers PART THREE: THE SCIENCE OF HANDLING PEER CONFLICT AND REJECTION: HELPFUL STRATEGIES Ch. 9: Dealing With Arguments Ch. 10: Handling Verbal Teasing Ch. 11: Addressing Cyber Bullying Ch. 12: Minimizing Rumors and Gossip Ch. 13: Avoiding Physical Bullying Ch. 14: Changing a Bad Reputation Epilogue: Moving Forward

Immediate Responses for Challenging Social Situations from Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson

Meeting New People: How to Start a Conversation

Well-meaning parents often give teens and young adults advice on how to meet new people. The problem is that the advice we give is often wrong! We might tell them to go up and say “Hi” or introduce themselves, yet in reality is this is not what socially accepted teens and young adults do to meet new people.

When trying to start a conversation with someone you don’t know, here’s what really works:

1. Casually look over at the person to show interest but don’t stare.

2. Use a prop to make it look like you’re focused on something else (e.g., your smartphone).

3. Look for a common interest that you both appear to share (e.g., you both have the same phone).

4. Make a comment related to the common interest (e.g., “I see you have the new iPhone. How do you like it?”).

5. Trade information about the common interest by asking follow-up questions and sharing related information about yourself (e.g., “I love my iPhone”).

6. Assess the person’s interest:

a. Are they talking to you?

b. Are they facing you?

c. Are they looking at you?

7. If they seem interested, introduce yourself (e.g., “By the way, I’m Liz”).

Nanci Arvizu, Writing and Reviews Editor

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  1. The best book I’ve read on this topic, could be extremely helpful for anyone who is socially-challenged, from teens to adults I’ve searched for a book like this for a long time. Most are aimed specifically for teens with ADD, autism, or similar conditions. I totally understand the need for works focused on these topics and The Science of Making Friends covers these areas in depth. But the book also contains plenty of information which could be helpful to ALL socially-challenged teens. These include those who feel awkward or unpopular, are nervous in new situations, or simply haven’t learned how to make and keep…

  2. Good Pieces, but not entire puzzle I work with teenagers with disabilities. I’m usually very skeptical whenever I pick up a book targeting teens and young adults with social challenges. I haven’t found a lot out there that works so I had no real clue about this book other than the back of the book and a promise of a DVD with supplemental material. 

  3. Helpful and Applicable, a wonderful How To Guide The Science of Making Friends gives parents and their teens/young adults the step-by-step tools to use to make friendships, with a compatible DVD and an app (avail for purchase – friendmaker 1.99). This book explains in detail UCLA’s PEERS (Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relationship Skills). The book gives parents the role of “Social Coach” and teaches you how to guide your teen/young adult into successful friendships. 

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