Learning about making friends and managing feelings is as important to us as math and language arts….
At Epiphany, we believe effective communication and social emotional skills are critical to an individual’s success and well-being both in and out of the classroom. Research confirms this belief that social and emotional learning enhances academic achievement and overall well-being, whereas the failure to achieve competence in these areas can lead to a variety of personal, social, and academic difficulties.
“Friends and Feelings” Program
Social communication and emotional skills are directly taught, modeled, prompted, practiced and reinforced daily in 3 distinct ways:
- Direct instruction in our “Friends and Feelings” class
- Integration of skill concepts across all academic subjects and enrichment classes
- Experiential learning and teachable moments throughout the student’s day
Our Friends and Feelings class is fun, interactive, multi-sensory and meaningful. Techniques used include role-playing, games, activities, video, pictures, diagrams, building projects, social stories, and discussion to facilitate learning and practice.
Target skills include:
- Understanding social rules
- Reading and interpreting nonverbal social cues (e.g. facial expressions, body language, tone of voice)
- Understanding feelings, mine and others’
- Emotional regulation
- Flexible thinking
- Perspective taking
- Problem solving
- Asking for help
- Conversation skills
- Positive ways to seek attention from others
- …and so much more!
Our Friends & Feelings Program incorporates evidenced-based strategies from experts in the field of Asperger’s, Autism Spectrum, and Social Communication, which include the work of Tony Attwood, Jed Baker, and Michelle Garcia Winner. Epiphany teachers are trained and receive on-going professional development in these and other specialized teaching practices.
 Eisenberg, 2006; Guerra & Bradshaw, 2008; Masten & Coatsworth, 1998; Weissberg & Greenberg, 1998)