Teens and college kids: Help offered in improving social interaction skills
September 7, 2010
URBANA — Teens and college students who would like to work on improving their social interaction skills are invited to attend fall groups created for their particular age group offered by The Autism Program at the University of Illinois.

"The Teen Connections group is a nine-week social skills program for youth ages 14 through 18. We will address such topics as social expectations, social thinking, expected and unexpected behaviors, and interactions among guys and girls, all in a fun, supportive, and instructive environment," said April Keaton, a licensed clinical social worker and a family and professional educator with the program.

The teen group will meet on Tuesdays from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. beginning October 5 at Christopher Hall, located at 904 West Nevada, Urbana. The program will include college mentors who will share their expertise regarding the way they negotiate social challenges in their day-to-day lives, she said.

The sessions will target active listening, perspective taking, group behavior, and reading nonverbal cues. The $100 fee includes the nine sessions, pizza, and educational materials. Scholarships may be available upon request. Interested persons should contact Keaton at 217-244-1395 or by emailing akeaton@illinois.edu.

In a second group, college students will be able to share their experiences and insights and make connections. The informal brown-bag lunch group will meet on Mondays from noon to 1 p.m. beginning September 20, also at Christopher Hall at the corner of Lincoln and Nevada in Urbana.

"If you're a college student who is looking for a place to discuss your social struggles and get feedback on how to negotiate social challenges, please bring a lunch and join us. We'll be working on understanding the feelings of others, reading nonverbal cues, relationship boundaries, and social expectations in different settings," Keaton said.

College students who would like to participate should also contact Keaton with questions. She can be reached at 217-244-1395 or by emailing akeaton@illinois.edu.