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Social Skills Training Programs

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School-based Programs

To our knowledge, there are several school-based social skills training programs running in the region.  One of these is called the “FRIENDS” program, coordinated by the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo, Wellington, Dufferin and the other is called the “Early Identification/Early Intervention Program by kidsLINK (which is a program of Carizon Family and Community Services).

The FRIENDS service operates in partnership with local school boards to develop self-esteem and social skills with children between the ages of 4 and 15 years.  Friends matches trained adult volunteers (16 years of age or older) with children and youth who are experiencing significant difficulties in their lives. Children may be experiencing issues related to social, emotional, behavioural, developmental or mental health concerns. Volunteers act as positive role models and confidantes to provide emotional support to children and assist them to build/enhance their self-esteem and confidence while developing strong social skills. (available in Waterloo Region only) For more information on the Friends Service, please call (519) 744-7645 ext. 229 or visit .

The Early Identification/Early Intervention Program usess a training curriculum and set of tools for adult use with 3 to 10 year olds to teach positive language and behaviour that help build strong relationships and resilience. The program is designed with complementary versions for use in schools, Early Childhood Care & Learning, community organizations and in the home. The program progressively develops more sophisticated skills in the areas of self understanding, self management, interpersonal communication, and relationship problem-solving. Through the use of common language and consistent strategies. Tools for Life provides the foundation for character development, conflict resolution, peacemaking, and anti-bullying.

For more information on the Early Indentification/Early Intervention Program, please go to their website , the EIEI (Early Identification, Early Intervention) Program, or call 519-741-1122 ext. 237 or e-mail:

Note  Not all schools are participating in the above two programs.  Firstly, there has to be a need in the school for such a program, and secondly, volunteers and/or staff are needed to support  these programs.

By Referral

ASPEN is a 10-week social skills training group for 12-17 year old youth with a diagnosis on the Autism Spectrum including Asperger’s Syndrome, High Functioning Autism, Pervasive Develop-mental Disorder (PDD) or Non-verbal learning disability. ASPEN is provided at no cost to families and is funded by The Ministry of Children and Youth as well as the Lutherwood Child and Family Foundation.  Sessions typically run during school breaks; Summer, December and March breaks. Please contact Front Door at 519-749-2932 Mon. to Fri., 8:30 am to 4:30 pm for more information about accessing this program.

Note:  PCMH encourages parents to advocate for social skills training through any agencies you may be involved with, whether it is through occupational therapy, mental health agencies or treatment centres.  Any of these centres may offer training if parents of children in similar age ranges can band together and request this support for their children.

Useful resources/links for SOCIAL SKILLS TRAINING
Canadian Mental Health Association –  – “Friends”
Developmental Services Resource Centre (DSRC) – or call 519-741-1121
Front Door – (519) 749-2932 ASPEN Group –
kidsLINK – 
KidsAbility Centre For Child Development –  – 519-886-8886
Waterloo Region Family Network – – 519-804-1786