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Communication and soft skills training for individuals with autism, ADHD, anxiety, co-existing conditions, intellectual and developmental disabilities and other social or relationship challenges.

Foundations for Communications for Teens & Adults

Standard classes run 6 weeks, meeting two times per week for two-hour sessions (may vary based on requests and needs)

Covering key foundational communication and social skills including:

  • Initiating, maintaining, and ending conversations

  • Maintaining two-way conversations

  • Differentiating friend, dating, and work relationships

  • Assessing non-verbal and verbal communication

  • Using electronic communication and social media

  • Maintaining a positive attitude

  • Compromise and conflict resolution

  • Recognizing controversial topics

  • Being flexible

  • Dating basics

  • Bullying, teasing, and embarrassing situations

  • Using humor 

  • Identifying and gaining self-advocacy skills

  • And more...

Reaching Independence and Self-Empowerment (RISE): Self-Determination and Self-Advocacy, and Skills for Employment 

Groups typically meet two times per week for two-hour sessions (may vary based on requests and needs)

  • Foundations for Teens required prior to taking this class as prerequisite skills are covered to continue building to more complex skills; exception requests evaluated by Balance MI-Skills.

Series of 3 six-week learning opportunities focused on learning and applying critical self-determination skills for attaining greater self-empowerment and independence

Content to be covered during the 3 sessions is provided below.

Note: content may be edited or moved to other sessions as deemed appropriated by facilitators

RISE Graphics Slide.jpg

Communication Basics (1, 2, 3) for Teens & Adults: Supporting Individuals with More Complex Needs

Standard classes run 6 weeks, meeting two times per week for 1-1/2 hour sessions (may vary based on need of each class); groups progress in content from the first through third classes, with a focus on maintenance and generalization of skills.

Program customization and more intensive supports for interpersonal and work-based communications:

  • Individualization of program targeting needs of each participant

  • Maintain 1 to 2 ratio (instructors to participants)

  • Reduced class size and session length with more in frequency of sessions

  • Repetition and practice of key skills to gain mastery and fluency of skills

  • Class covers:

    • Rules of conversation (customized and scaled to participant ability)

    • Having two-way conversations; entering and exiting conversations; verbal-nonverbal communication

    • Self-monitoring and self-advocacy to promote independent thinking and communication

Individual (one-on-one) Services

The continued goal is to learn and practice in peer-based groups. This helps with learning and generalizing skills and knowledge then applied to personal, community, and work-based settings. Sometimes it may be helpful to start skill building in a one on one (or individualized) setting, with the goal of moving to a group with peers in a workshop. This is not needed for every individual participating, but may be an option to better prepare for a group setting.

KEYS Peer Mentoring Meet-Ups (Keep Empowering Yourself for Success)

A social and peer mentoring community-based opportunity offered monthly for individuals who have completed one of the communication skills groups offered by Balance MI-Skills, taken part in one-on-one sessions, or have been supported in employment experiences. Sessions are held in the community where time is spent engaging in social or recreational activities with group members and similar aged peers. Communication concepts learned are integrated into the program to increase generalization and self-advocacy and practice in natural settings in the community. Past community activity locations include the Aquatic Center of East Lansing, Launch Trampoline Park, Potter Park Zoo, Fun Tyme, Playing Picasso, bowling, and others. Some sessions are held in a community location where there are organized games and activities supported by facilitators and peer coaches. 

Studying on the Grass
Legs in Jeans
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