Growing up can be hard. Especially the teenage years. And even more so if the teenager in question has social skill deficits. As humans we are all "hard wired" for relationships with other humans. Individuals living with autism often want to develop skills necessary to make and keep friends. They need to learn the skills necessary to navigate various social situations in which they may not feel comfortable. And they also must learn how to manage conflict and rejection. Parents and care providers may feel clueless on how to help teens develop the social skills necessary to engage with neuro-typical peers. But where there is a will.... there is a way! The Social Skills Group at BRAINS in Grand Rapids, MI recently concluded their Social Skills Group summer session based upon a program developed at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA. The Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS®) provides evidence-based social skills treatment to preschoolers, adolescents, and young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, depression, and other socio-emotional problems. PEERS® isn't a diagnostic tool. It is a tool kit designed to help individuals develop social skills through didactic lessons and role play demonstrations as well as providing participants opportunities to practice these skills through socialization activities. And IT WORKS! I hope you enjoy today’s presentation! The development of social skills has the power to change and enhance the life experience of everyone who seeks to belong, to be seen, and to engage with the world around them.