USE THE POWER OF A SOCIAL GROUP TO

TEACH YOUR CHILD HOW TO TALK TO FRIENDS

Created by:

Rebecca Robbins MS, CCC-SLP

My name is Rebecca Robbins,

and I have spent the last 15 years of my career as a Speech Language Pathologist specializing in the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders, with a particular interest in improving executive functioning and relationship development skills. Let’s face it, navigating social relationships is challenging for any child in the late childhood and tween years. The addition of a diagnosis of High Functioning Autism, ADHD, et al only adds to that challenge. My mission and goal is to help as many children as possible navigate through their social lives a little easier, which is why I started Buddy Group in 2018.

Because relationships are what make life worth living.

BUT FIRST, TELL ME:

Does your child have difficulty carrying on conversations with his/her peers? 

Does he/she seem to only want to talk about his/her own interests? 

Does he/she miss subtle nonverbal cues that happen in conversations? 

Do you want your child to be better equipped to make and maintain friendships?

INTRODUCING:

BUDDY GROUP

a social skills language group that will help your child learn to talk with their friends and family

through conversation, engagement, and fun!

WHAT'S INCLUDED?


CLASSES FOR ALL AGES

Class availability is dependent upon enrollment

In Person Classes (NY Only)

Instructed By: Jennifer Wisotzky MS, CCC-SLP

Classes held in Goshen, NY

Ages 8-12, 13-16

  • Level 1 & Level 2 Classes Available

Ages 17-25

  • Level 1 & Level 2 Classes Available

Virtual Classes (Available in NY & PA)

Instructed By: Rebecca Robbins MS, CCC-SLP

Ages 8-12, 13-16

  • Level 1 & Level 2 Classes Available

Ages 17-25

  • Level 1 & Level 2 Classes Available

Makeup of classes is dependent upon:

  • Enrollment
  • Best fit for communication style
  • Needs of the student
I'm interested!

"He now understands the back and forth of a conversation and has more appropriate comments and questions in his repertoire."

“Before we started Buddy Group with Rebecca our son had difficulty understanding how to talk to family and friends. He did not understand the back and forth of having a conversation. When I came across Rebecca’s program it was exactly what I was looking for to help my son. Our son has been participating in Buddy Group for two years now and we have seen such great changes in him as a result. He now understands the back and forth of a conversation and has more appropriate comments and questions in his repertoire. When you have a child with communication issues you quickly realize how difficult it is to help them.  We needed someone to help us break down the skills so that we could help our son understand how to communicate with others. Rebecca was incredible with providing us with the weekly lesson materials and homework assignments. This helped us understand exactly how he learned each skill and enabled us to have him generalize the skill with others. When I asked my son what his favorite part of Buddy Group was, he said, “I like when I get to talk and share conversations with everyone.” We are forever grateful for Rebecca and her Buddy Group. It's an incredible program which would benefit any child who needs help communicating and socializing.”

~Danielle


To qualify for enrollment,
your child must be able to

  • Talk in sentences and answer questions about preferred topics
  • Be able to attend in a small group setting with minimal adult support for attention and behavior


WEEKLY CLASSES

In person classes start the week of 1/31/22 and end the week of 6/20/22

Virtual classes start the week of 1/31/22 and end the week of 6/20/22

"I have noticed that he engages more with his peers and seems to understand the nuances of social skills better."

Before we started Buddy Group I was really looking for social communication among peers. My son always had a hard time engaging with peers because he always has a one-track mind of what he wants or doesn't want to do and never seemed to care about what others were interested in. He doesn't much like conversing so he wouldn't engage much with others. When I came across Rebecca’s program, I liked that she was a speech therapist because I know his speech group at school has been great. He needed more like that and other social skills groups he tried were too young for him or working on things that had no bearing on his life. So the fact that Buddy Group had different age groups let me know that if one group was too young, there was another option. I also loved that the classes were online (due to the pandemic) because I would have had a hard time getting to in person classes weekly. I was a little hesitant at first because of the money investment as I was worried about affording an entire session but, ultimately, decided to give the program a chance because I was able to get it approved and reimbursed through self-direction. Our son has been participating in Buddy Group for a year now and we have seen such great changes in him as a result. I have noticed that he engages more with his peers and seems to understand the nuances of social skills better. He asks questions of others and seems to understand when they are having a hard time. He engages better with his sister as well. I find the most helpful part of Rebecca’s program to be the fact that it is online and is paid on a monthly basis. But as far as the program itself, the interactiveness of the group is most helpful - he doesn't have time to get bored or space out. When I asked my son what his favorite part of Buddy Group was, he said,”the games that we play.”


Gina, New Paltz, NY

BUILT-IN PARENT TRAINING

You know that progress truly happens when your child takes the lessons from Buddy Group out into the real world. That's why each class is designed with parent training built into the program.

All Participants Receive:

  • Access to Course Materials
  • Weekly Home Carry-over Activities

Let's chat to find out if Buddy Group is right for you.

All classes are delivered by an ASHA Certified Speech-Language Pathologist

PLUS: Special Guests to help with the generalization of learned skills.

"When socializing he asks more questions and is patient with others' responses. He also has something to talk about besides his preferred themes, now he discusses subjects from the group."

Before we started Buddy Group with Rebecca I felt there was always a lack of social groups for my son's age bracket.  I liked that Buddy Group not only provided a safe environment during a pandemic but it was with peers with similar disabilities and challenges. He was able to make friends and have constructive conversations in a monitored group.

I was a little hesitant at first because I was worried if my son would enjoy the group, would it be age appropriate and would he learn anything from being in the group. Ultimately, we decided to give the program a chance because upon contacting Rebecca about the program she took the time to explain exactly what her intentions were with the group. She was patient and gave me a lot of material to review and answered any questions I may have had.  She was able to find a spot in a group to fit my son's age bracket and kept us informed of any changes, concerns and subjects to carry over at home. We said yes because of the time she put into explaining it and she gave us a chance to experience the group without paying at first so that we could feel comfortable it was the right fit for us. Rebecca’s patience with us being new was why we went with Buddy Group. She even took the time to have a conversation with my son to answer his questions.

Our son participated in Buddy Group for one semester and we have seen such great changes in him as a result. When socializing he asks more questions and is patient with others' responses. He also has something to talk about besides his preferred themes, now he discusses subjects from the group. I find the most helpful part of Rebecca’s program to be  the socialization he receives and learning to be more vocal about his beliefs. When I asked my son what his favorite part of Buddy Group was, he said, “Making friends and fun games”. We look forward to working with Rebecca and the Buddy Group in the future and are appreciative to have something in his peer group connecting across state lines with kids he would never have had the opportunity to meet. 

 Gennifer, Clarks Summit, PA

THE BUDDY GROUP LEVEL 1 CURRICULUM

Get to Know You Questions & Shared Interests

In this unit we will focus on learning the importance of talking to friends about shared interests and how to find out what their friends are interested in.

Topic Starter Questions  

In this unit we will learn how to ask Topic Starter Questions to start a conversation with a friend.  

The Communication Cycle & Making Comments  

In this unit we will learn what a communication cycle is, what happens when we have a...BREAKDOWN, and how to make comments.

Follow Up Comments and Questions  

This month the kids will learn to keep the conversation going by adding a follow-up question or comment and the rules of how to do that.

Conversation Practice  

Opportunities to practice conversations happen in every class. We practice during games, warm-up activities, lessons, and with special guests.

Being a Listener

The students learn that there are two jobs in a conversation, the talker and the listener. This unit focuses on teaching how to be a listener. Then the students get to practice their listening skills in fun, interactive games and activities.

Bounce-it-Back Comments and Questions

The students learn how to bounce a question back to their talking partner by asking the same question they were asked to keep the conversation going. Then we learn how to answer the Bounce It Back question we were asked as a comment to keep the conversation going.

THE BUDDY GROUP LEVEL 2 CURRICULUM

Review & Practice Level 1 Skills

In this unit we will focus on reviewing all the concepts and strategies learned during the Level 1 Curriculum and focus on practicing these concepts in conversations with others.


 

Becoming a Conversation Detective

In this unit, we will learn how to read the clues that happen during conversations to have great conversations with their friends.  

Becoming a Topic Changer Superhero

In this unit we will learn how to use their superpowers to know exactly how to change the topic in a conversation.


 

Beyond My Words

In this unit we will strengthen their nonverbal communication skills by using their own body language and eye contact appropriately and how to understand it in others.  

Should I say this???  

In this unit we will learn how to engage in conversations in a way that leaves everyone feeling good. We will focus on what we say, how we say, and how it might make someone feel.  

Conversation Practice 

Opportunities to practice conversations happen in every class. We practice during games, warm-up activities, lessons, and with special guests.  

Hear what other Buddy Group Families are saying

"Our son started seeing Rebecca for social skills to improve his communication. We were very confident in her knowledge base and professionalism. She is extremely patient and kind with our son. Everyone has noticed an improvement in his speech and language skills. Staff at his school have stopped to tell me how he will initiate a greeting as he passes them in the hall. We have also begun seeing her for private speech sessions because we have been so pleased with his progress in her group setting."

- Britney, New Windsor, NY

"Rebecca has a great pedigree having provided speech therapy services in a VBA school and also within a traditional district, in addition to performing regularly in community theatre and therefore bringing the perfect level of animation to her sessions. She is bright, inquisitive and consultative. Rebecca is always looking for and willing to try new techniques. We can see real progress that we can attribute directly to Rebecca’s work with our son, whom she has been treating for five years. She is an incredible asset and we know that we are extremely fortunate to be working with this very important member of our team."

- Jennifer, Campbell Hall, NY

"In 2009, our son was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. When he was four years old, we were BLESSED to welcome Rebecca Robbins onto our therapy team. Rebecca had specific training in Relationship Development Intervention techniques and professional & personal experience helping children affected by autism increase both communication and socialization. In addition to working 1:1 with our son for six years, Rebecca was also able to offer us Parent Training & Counseling.

When our son was 11, he enrolled in the Social Skills class with Rebecca to help his socialization and increase his communication abilities specific to initiating and maintaining conversations. This “buddy group” was a weekly program he looked forward to attending. He recently told me that he especially enjoyed earning points for using topic starter questions and making follow up comments. He is also fond of her teaching style using games to learn, play and have conversations with his “buddies”.

Currently, he participates as a biweekly “part-time” guest/role model in “buddy group” which has helped his confidence and gives him a great opportunity to practice his conversation skills. Rebecca Robbins is fun, friendly, smart, reliable, enthusiastic, empowering, educated, and offers a great mix of personal and professional styles in her teachings. We are grateful to have her as a role model continuing to empower and educate our family!"

- Stacey, Goshen, NY

"Before we started Buddy Group with Rebecca our son was not able to hold a conversation.  There was no back and forth, only him telling us what toys he wanted to buy or what movies he wanted to see. I came across Rebecca’s program through a recommendation from a friend. I was a little hesitant to join the program at first because of the time commitment and distance to get to session on a work night but, ultimately, decided to give the program a chance because I knew that speech therapy (getting him to annunciate) would not be enough to have him be a successful adult.

Our son has been participating in Buddy Group for a year and we have seen such great changes in him as a result. He will attend longer at dinner.  When we point out he is being a "conversation thief" (a term we learned in Buddy Group) he will attempt to join in or wait his turn. I find the most helpful part of Rebecca’s program to be that it is teaching him the abstract skill of carrying on a conversation, no small task for a group of boys on the spectrum. When I asked my son what his favorite part of Buddy Group was, he said…”Rebecca!” 

-Doris, Cornwall, NY

In Person Classes start week of 1/31/22.

$150 for the first month then $200 per month after that

Available for residents of NY Only

Virtual Classes start week of 1/31/22.

$200 per month

Available for residents of NY & PA

Don't let geography be the reason your child doesn't receive the socialization support they need!

(NY Residents: Class may be approved for self-directed funds.)

Is Buddy Group right for you?

Let's chat and find out.