by Bonnie Eissner
The need for friends—or at least peers who accept you—is a near universal human trait. Even adolescents with autism spectrum disorder, who struggle to communicate and socialize, feel this urge and can be transformed when they satisfy it. Helping them do so is the primary goal of Adelphi University’s Social Training Center.
The center, which is an integral part of the school psychology master’s program at Adelphi’s Gordon F. Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies, offers low-cost weekly social groups for adolescents with autism spectrum disorder. The groups are small—between three and six participants—and arranged to maximize compatibility among the participants and the clinicians who lead them. Each group is led by a graduate of Adelphi’s school psychology master’s program—either Ehrin McHenry, M.A. ’11, or Stephanie Bezalel, M.A. ’12 (both of whom are certified school psychologists), and one or two carefully selected school psychology master’s students, who gain valuable clinical training from their involvement.