The PEERS program at UCLA, which stands for Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills, is a 16 week-long program that teaches social skills, including tips on dating.
“I was feeling lonely," 25-year-old Joey Juarez told ABC. He likes dressing up to go out with his friends, however he often avoided social situations because he worried about awkward moments.
Now, because of the program, he feels more confident in social situations. “They taught me how to, like, make and keep friends,” Joey added, “of course there’s many aspects that go into that.”
The program also teaches parents how to coach their young adult children.
“He is going through the program and applying, you know, the techniques. He’s able now to have more meaningful relationship that is going to last him for a long time, maybe for life, and that is really, really important,” Joey's dad, Jose Juarez, told ABC.
“Our study offers encouraging findings that, through an evidence-based, caregiver-supported intervention, adults with autism can improve in ways that may help them be more successful in these aspects of their lives,” Dr. Elisabeth Laugeson, founder and director of the PEERS Clinic in Los Angeles, told Autism Speaks.