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The Science of Making Friends: Helping Socially Challenged Teens and Young Adults Paperback – 25 Oct 2013

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The Science of Making Friends: Helping Socially Challenged Teens and Young Adults + Social Skills for Teenagers with Developmental and Autism Spectrum Disorders: The PEERS Treatment Manual + The PEERS Curriculum for School-Based Professionals: Social Skills Training for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder
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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey Bass; Pap/DVD edition (25 Oct. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118127218
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118127216
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 368,532 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

This book offers a groundbreaking approach for helping socially challenged teens and young adults make and keep friends. Based on UCLA′s acclaimed PEERS program—the only evidence–based approach of its kind in the world—this accessible book and DVD offer the tools parents and educators need to become "social coaches" to the teens and young adults in their lives. Elizabeth Laugeson, an internationally known social skills expert, provides research–supported Rules and steps for social skills Ideas for parents or other adults to assist in improving conversational skills Tips for expanding social opportunities Strategies for handling peer rejection and bullying Plans for developing and enhancing friendships The book includes chapter summaries for teens and young adults, plus a DVD with video demonstrations that illustrate key skills. “Dr. Liz Laugeson has devoted her career to studying the behaviors that lead to social failure and finding ways to teach alternate ways of acting. If you follow the guidelines [in Dr. Laugeson′s book], I guarantee you will see greater social success. And that is one of the best predictors of happiness and good life outcome. I can′t stress strongly enough what it’s meant to me." —John Elder Robison, New York Times bestselling author, Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger′s "More than simply a list of social skills, this book takes readers through an almost chronological journey from how to find a potential group of friends to what to do to make a friend to how to talk to and engage with that person—a journey that is well worth taking." —Catherine Lord, Ph.D., director, Center for Autism and the Developing Brain; professor, Columbia University "Coping with the confusing, conflicting, and complex demands of the social world is one of the biggest challenges for those with autism. There is a pressing need for evidence–based interventions to support these young people and Laugeson′s book is one of the first to help fill this gap." —Patricia Howlin, emeritus professor of Clinical Child Psychology, King′s College London "We often think of friendship as more an art than a science, but Laugeson′s work proves otherwise. Accurate, concise, and highly useful, the book sets a new standard for translating research into practice." —Peter F. Gerhardt, Ed.D., clinical director, The Amal Group, and chair of the Scientific Council of the Organization for Autism Research

About the Author

Elizabeth A. Laugeson , Psy.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist and assistant clinical professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By jean styles on 21 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very informative, emjoyed reading it but not relevant to my life. Some good ideas and information for anyone needing a book like this
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 41 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
The best book I've read on this topic, could be extremely helpful for anyone who is socially-challenged, from teens to adults 2 Dec. 2013
By Kcorn - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I've searched for a book like this for a long time. Most are aimed specifically for teens with ADD, autism, or similar conditions. I totally understand the need for works focused on these topics and The Science of Making Friends covers these areas in depth. But the book also contains plenty of information which could be helpful to ALL socially-challenged teens. These include those who feel awkward or unpopular, are nervous in new situations, or simply haven't learned how to make and keep friends.

This book met - and exceeded - my hopes. Based on both solid research and real-life scenarios and examples, there are step-by-step instructions to help teens learn how to control their anxieties and improve their social skills. Each section covers a specific area.

The first section provides an overview of the research which supports the rest of the material in the book. From there, sections include information about how to form and maintain friendships (finding friends, starting conversations, discovering mutual interests). I particularly liked the part about coping with conflict and rejection because - painful as it is - these are also realities that teens may face. They need coping strategies for those times and they'll find them here.

I also appreciated the fact that the book was written with sections for parents and different ones for teens. They complement each other but have a slightly different tone. There are exercises included in each chapter for teens to help them practice their budding skills. The DVD included with the book is a special bonus, with examples of realistic situations. For those who learn best with visuals, this could be a significant help.

There is far too much information to cover in a review but I did want to note the examples which are labeled "Good" and "Bad" ways of starting conversations. Among other topics, these examples hone in on the the types of cues which socially-challenged individuals may miss - appropriate eye contact, body distance, getting personal too quickly, etc.

After reading this book, I've become convinced that there is not only an art but a science behind friendships. Some teens learn this almost automatically. For others, it takes more work and the information in this helpful volume could be a major source of support.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Good Pieces, but not entire puzzle 1 Nov. 2013
By R. H. Marquez - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I work with teenagers with disabilities. I'm usually very skeptical whenever I pick up a book targeting teens and young adults with social challenges. I haven't found a lot out there that works so I had no real clue about this book other than the back of the book and a promise of a DVD with supplemental material.

I got into the forward which impressed me, John Elder Robinson who wrote "Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's" strongly recommended the PEER method developed by UCLA. The entire book is a training guide for the PEER method. I have never heard of the PEER system so I went through the book to find out more about it.

The book comes in three parts. Every chapter spends pages describing steps and warnings that people who do not have social challenges should teach to those that do have social challenges. None of this material is new to me, I work with my students with disabilities and we work on all these same skills endlessly. The second part of the chapter is directly aimed at someone learning social skills. Often, this is paired with a video found on the DVD or can be unlocked with a password from the publisher online. The book contains the dialouge used in the video. At the end of each section, the reader (the one with social challenges) is asked to reflect and try to see the view point of the other person. A conversation ideally happens. The third and final section of every chapter is a "Success Story", a casestudy of a family who had been able to go to the UCLA clinic and use the PEER program.

A good highlight in this book is the introduction of online safety, an important fact of life these days.

The book covers how to make friends, how to enter into a conversation, and how to deal with negative social exchanges (arguments, teasing, rumors, and negative reputations).

Some things that got in the way and bogged down the system, as outlined in this book, is the endless text directed at people with social struggles. Even when paired with the videos, the guideline and directives are extraordinarily black and white. In addition while complex social exchanges have a video, simple introductory social exchanges are excluded from videos.

The videos on the DVD (or found online with the code) are not exactly the pinnacle of cinema. But that lends itself to the credibility to hopefully demonstrate successful social outcomes for people who struggle with socialization. More common issues such as "Policing" or "conversation hogging" lacked additional examples. The balance between gender videos also was missing, I felt every type of exchange should have occurred with both genders. In addition, another frustration is the DVD is only to be used on a computer, not a DVD player for a TV.

This program is initially very promising and there are many who have found success with this program. Using the book helps reinforce the skills of social navigation, but does not lend itself with fidelity to people with much more severe social challenges. "The Science of Making Friends" is definitely a book I will use when the occasion arises for my students.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Helpful and Applicable, a wonderful How To Guide 5 Nov. 2013
By Becky Rose - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Science of Making Friends gives parents and their teens/young adults the step-by-step tools to use to make friendships, with a compatible DVD and an app (avail for purchase - friendmaker 1.99). This book explains in detail UCLA's PEERS (Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relationship Skills). The book gives parents the role of "Social Coach" and teaches you how to guide your teen/young adult into successful friendships.

First off, Elizabeth A. Laugeson, PSY.D., understands that your son/daughter may not be motivated to make friendships. For this, perhaps reading the book, watching the DVD, and knowing the tools, you can at least be equipped to help your child with friendships if they so desire.

What the book teaches: How to find and choose good friends (Where to find them, how to match your child with like minded people, what groups to join, etc).
It then goes into basic conversation skills, starting and entering conversations and exiting conversations. There are written instructions, visual examples on the DVDs, and then questions to talk about what was seen on the DVDs. The parents are given instructions on how to be a social coach and the teens/young adults are given specific highlighted portion to read. Topics covered are trading information, eye contact, physical boundaries, voice levels, conversation hogs, asking too many questions, policing, teasing and getting too personal. Sometimes both good and bad examples are given. For someone who may be confused about friendships, these social rules will be extremely helpful.

Since many with social challenges prefer to be on computers, it goes into great detail in regards to managing electronic communication. How people lie about who they really are on the internet, and why we want to have out teens/young adults get off the computer and have real interactive relationships. It covers texting and social media as well.

Showing good sportsmanship is covered and then it goes into detail on how to plan a get-together (the steps for before it happens, how to make it happen, and what to do during and how to close it).
The third and final section of the book covers "The Science of Handling Peer Conflict and Rejection: Helpful Strategies." While some parents may want to skip ahead to this part as it's our daily lives with kids with social challenges, but I recommend reading the entire book first and using the foundations built in the first two sections before advancing into this important section. Subjects explored are dealing with arguments, handling verbal teasing (GREAT ADVICE HERE), addressing cyber bullying (big issue), avoiding physical bullying (my least favorite section, but they handled it as well as possible). And two other sections are Minimizing Rumors and Gossip (very helpful and I learned a lot in this section) and Changing a Bad Reputation. Reputation? My kid doesn't have a reputation is what I thought. But after reading the book, I get that all kids have reputations and maybe your teen/young adult's is bad. Bad because they're weird, or a dork, or get in peoples' space, or interview people with inappropriate questions, etc. This book explains how to change and fix that. Very nice!

The tone of this book is pretty serious and straight forward. I would start using these tools as early as possible from a parent perspective, as I will with my 11 year old, but it will be most useful for teens/young adults. My son prefers silly and he really likes the book, "Social Rules for Kids, The top 100 Social Rules that Kids Need to Succeed" by Susan Diamond, which I believe compliments this PEERS package quite well and could be used as a follow up or refresher.

Elizabeth A. Laugeson, PSY.D is passionate about The Science of Making Friends and it shows in her work. It's an excellent evidence-based program (and the only one of its kind). As a parent of a socially challenged pre-teen, I greatly appreciate this program and plan on using it. I will recommend to all the mom's in my parent groups as well as all the parents I know with children on the autism spectrum and/or developmental delays.

- Provides step-by-step instructions on how to find and make friends. Also, what to do if people aren't interested in being friends, if arguments happen, if bullying is happening, and so much more. So often parents are left not knowing what to do - this book tells you what to do and maps it out for you.
- Book is very thorough. It goes into extreme detail, which at times can feel a bit much, but if you're like my son you really need it broken down to the simplest of simple steps.
- A lot of ground is covered, such as online "friendships", what to avoid, online bullying, and cyber laws.
- DVD, visual learning skills are wonderful. I like the young adults that are on camera. The short vignettes get the point across quickly and effectively.
- DVD, Elizabeth A. Laugeson, PSY.D., speaks clearly and is easy to understand. She speaks for a few moments, then the kids do their acting example of the situation, and then the same three questions come up to learn from the video.
- Success stories planted throughout. Where they started, how they did it and how they are doing now.

- I wish the text that was written for the teens/young adults would have been a separate book or perhaps a workbook specifically for the teen/young adult.
- The beginning of the book and the DVD sell you on the program and why it's better than any other program. I didn't feel this was necessary and kind of a turn off.
- The DVD says, "Keep your cool," a lot, which my son would literally think to stay cold. Perhaps stay calm would have been a better choice; however, it's all explained in the book so I don't think anyone will be confused.

***Note: I watched the DVD on my DVD player even though it says in the book to watch on computer. It worked fine for me with chapter selections to work on specific segment when desired.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Excellent. Very useful book .... dvd a bit over dramatized ..... 27 Nov. 2013
By microeconomics - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I found this book to be useful and was happy in many ways to find that the information in this book piggybacks on the same socialization ideas being presented for younger children as well. Chapter 2 is a great example of this, Finding and Choosing Good Friends, tells about finding clubs or afterschool activities that your child is good at/in and enjoys. In this was there is a common interest, and after all most friendships develop on 1 or more common interests.

The first chapter tells how to use this book and the science/studies that have been done to support its ideas. It also talks about as a parent how to handle the lack of apparent concern in your teen who may not be ready or interested in making/keeping friends at the moment.

There is a chapter summary intended to be read by the teen or young adult that is trying to make/keep friends. This is a joint family endeavor and needs to be approached as such. The DVD needs to be watched with the teen and an adult to further discuss the situations and some solutions.

Overall I think this book is a great accumulation of information and helpful tips/ideas, especially for teens in the electronic realm as well. It discusses text messaging, phone calls and various other forms of one on one and electronic ways to communicate and sets rules for this situations.

My one complaint is that the DVD is a bit too overdramatized. I think that is fine to start with, but the situations should become less obvious so the ‘student’ needs to be able to notice these finer queues that may happen in a natural setting.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Comprehensive, Practical, Not Just for Teens 25 Nov. 2013
By K. Groh - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have close ties to a young person with Aspergers. Luckily he has done very well finding like-minded friends over the years but he has struggled a bit in certain social situations. It gets a lot better with maturity but even with careful watching of what others do in social situations, there are some nuances and things that just cannot be observed.

The Science of Making friends is a super intense and comprehensive and although to the average reader, goes deep into every nuance of conversations, eye movements, and body language, these things do not always come naturally to someone with autism or Aspergers. And the reality is that the world will not accommodate individuals as much as we think they should. In fact, during these formative and socially important years, having this knowledge is more important than ever.

The Science of Making Friends is a great way to reference situations as they arise (there is a great index in the back) or to read through and discuss. It also includes a set of videos that are referenced throughout the book to reinforce the information as presented in text. It has an introduction written by John Elder Robinson, author of Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's, Be Different: My Adventures with Asperger's and My Advice for Fellow Aspergians, Misfits, Families, and Teachers, and Raising Cubby: A Father and Son's Adventures with Asperger's, Trains, Tractors, and High Explosives -- three great books about Aspergers from the point of view of one with it and trying to raise a child with Aspergers.

Although this is supposedly written for teens and young adults, I think it would work for any adult who is still struggling with how to fit in enough to be more at ease at work or other social situations.
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