PEERS training materials
Introducing Elizabeth Laugeson’s
programme to explain friendships
to adolescents
Aims of the course
• To learn about the PEERS programme
• To identify pupils who may benefit
• To increase understanding of how PEERS
differs from other programmes
• To gain confidence in how we speak to
young people about unwritten rules of
social interaction
• To consider how it could be used in your
What is the PEERS programme?
• Dr Elizabeth Laugeson - clinical
psychologist from U.C.L.A
• Carried out research with Professor Fred
Frankel to find most effective techniques
to support adolescents with social
interaction difficulties (including ASD) to
make friends
• PEERS Manual for pupil, staff and parents
and The Science of Making Friends 2013
What is the PEERS programme?
• Program for the Evaluation and
Enrichment of Relational Skills
• Original programme is for 14 sessions
where two groups are facilitated, one for
pupils and one for parents who are trained
as coaches
• New book is for home use divided into 13
hands-on sections supported by a DVD of
video demonstrations
Who may benefit?
• Materials are aimed at adolescents who
want to learn how to make and keep
• E.L found 55% of pupils were more or less
accepted by their peers with 15 % being
• 30% of pupils experienced either peer
rejection or social neglect
Who may benefit?
• Peer rejection (15%) –actively seek out friends
but are perceived as ‘weird’, hyper verbose.
Make unfunny jokes, monopolise conversations
and are rejected. May get a bad reputation as
being odd.
• Socially excluded (15%)-shy,withdrawn and
rarely speak in social situations. May experience
depression, anxiety and can go unnoticed
• Being alone also makes you vulnerable to
How PEERS is different
• PEERS is evidence based.
• Baselines and results were evaluated
using questionnaires that can be used in
school to measure outcomes
• Test of Adolescent Social Skills Knowledge
• Quality of Play Questionnaire for parents
and adolescents (QPQ-P) (QPQ-A)*
How PEERS is different
• It is based on what really works –
ecologically valid
• Works alongside the student in partnership
• Builds on their strengths e.g. uses rules to
structure up social interaction
• Uses key phrases to act as reminders and
affirmations e.g. Friendship is a choice
• It can be supported by a mobile phone app
• Not a buddying system
So how does it do it?
• Find students who want to learn
• Students need to be aware of their own
anxiety levels - we have the Anxiety
Programme in MK that we can use first
• Begin by considering students own
• Then observe the social interactions
around you-identify a group where you
may find like-minded people
Who is out there ??
• Activity identify at least 10 groups of teens
How can I make him my friend?
Friendship is a choice
• Programme is about reality and will not
promise to make everything easy.
• Lessons about humour feedback to help
students realise when they are being
laughed at rather than with
• How to read gaze aversion and what that
means and how to withdraw from
Typical session
How would it look in my school?
• 14 sessions with parents too is a huge
• Programme could be divided into two parts
each of 8 sessions just with students
• Part 1 Developing and maintaining
• Part 2 Handling rejection and conflict
To begin..
• Ask class tutors and mentors to identify
possible students
• Meet with students individually to explain
what it is about – have a flyer for students
and families explaining what it is about
• Identify a room that will be available and
time that colleagues will accept you
removing pupils
• Facilities to share DVD
Set up
• Complete the questionnaires so you can
evaluate the intervention ( Specialist
Teaching Team can supply templates)
• Perhaps invite families to an information
Part 1
Finding and choosing good friends
Good conversations:The basics
Starting and entering conversations
Exiting conversations
Managing electronic communication
Showing good sportsmanship
Enjoying successful get togethers
Celebration session
Part 2
• Revisit Part 1- share emotional toolkit tips
• Dealing with rejection-teasing and
embarrassing feedback
• Bullying and bad reputations
• Changing a bad reputation
• Handling disagreements
• Rumours and gossip
• Celebration
• TASSK- Modification of the Test of Social Skills
permission of authors
• QPQ-P & A-Adapted from Frankel & Mintz(2008) by
permission of authors