As 2018 draws to an end, all of us here at Integrated Living Opportunities (ILO) are busy planning fun, exciting and enriching opportunities for our self-advocates in 2019. ILO’s mission is to help individuals with disabilities live full, independent lives, integrated into their communities and supported according to their needs. Creating and maintaining friendships and relationships is important to living a full life, and is essential to integrating into a community.

Recently, a program designed to help individuals with disabilities with social and recreational skills has come to our attention: PEERS® for Young Adults. This program focuses on “social skills intervention for motivated young adults, who are interested in learning skills to make and keep friends and develop romantic relationships.”

PEERS® for Young Adults: What is it?

PEERS® (Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills) for Young Adults is “an evidence-based social skills intervention for motivated young adults, who (as mentioned above) are interested in learning skills to make and keep friends and develop romantic relationships.”

The PEERS® program consists of weekly, 90-minute group sessions during which participants are taught important life skills and are given the opportunity to practice these skills. Individuals called “social coaches” – parents, adult siblings, life coach, job coach, etc. – also attend sessions, and are taught “how to assist young adults in making and keep friends by providing feedback weekly during socialization homework assignments.” The program covers topics such as how to choose appropriate friends, use electronic devices, use and respond to humor, and how start and finish conversations. PEERS® also covers how to organize get togethers and social outings, how to develop romantic relationships and dating etiquette, and how to handle disagreements, arguments and differences of opinion in relationships, friendly, romantic and otherwise. Last but not least, PEERS® teaches participants valuable skills related to handling rejection, teasing, bullying and rumors/gossip.

There are a number of prerequisites that individuals wishing to enroll in PEERS® must meet – first and foremost, they must be young adults aged 18-35+ years. Individuals must want to attend the program of their own volition, and participate voluntarily. They must also have friendship problems, and have a social coach willing and committed to attend the program each week.

Contact us for More Information

ILO may be offering this course in 2019 through an organization in Montgomery County Maryland. It is a sixteen-week program and we are not sure of the enrollment fee at this point. Research following graduates indicates that the gains made in this program are still maintained 3-5 years later. Please stay tuned to ILO’s website and our blogs for further announcements regarding this program.

If you are interested in learning more about PEERS® in general, please contact ILO. We would love to answer any questions you may have about this program, and how it could benefit your family member with disabilities. A video providing an overview of the program can be found here, and links to research articles and even more information can be found on the UCLA PEERS® website,

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