What is your experience with Think Social East Bay in Oakland

Hi!

I'm curious if you have experienced Think Social East Bay groups in Oakland for your child? I'm considering it for my child whose is 9 and is working on self-compassion, self control, following directions, empathy for others, and developing a more collaborative spirit. My child can be pretty dominating and strong willed at times... can identify their own needs and wants very easily but has a hard time at times relating to other people's needs and wants, following directions and being vulnerable. My child hasn't been diagnosed with any learning differences. The Director of the program seemed to say they focus on the "why" of the behavior but it wasn't clear to me how the program would actually address my daughter's specific challenges many of which were recommended by the school itself. Have you seen just knowing "the why" actually creates behavioral changes in a child with my specific personality?

Thanks so much for your help!

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My son attended Shelly’s class for 1 school year. He was 10 when he was diagnosed with mild ADHD and autism due to his behavior issues, similar to your child, dominating, inability to consider other people, breaking stuff when thing didn’t go his way, unwilling to take instructions. Our child therapist recommended that he attend Think Social. Shelly was great with the kids. I didn’t a lot of feedback from her nor my child, so I didn’t know what was going on in class, but from what I gathered, they learned how to build friendship by ask other kids questions, what to say when friends were sad, they learned how to behave in a store, around strangers, etc. Maybe it was to learn how to “fake it till you make it” for these kids? I was told that each class may be different depending on the kids’ behavior issues. Another parent told me that Shelly usually gave the parents a recap at the end of each session, but because of Covid, she didn’t do that last year. I think the real questions is if your child take the skills she learned in class and apply them to the real world. My son’s behavior did improve a little, but I don’t know if it was the medication he was on or Think Social. My son said it was very boring so he didn’t want to go anymore.

We've just started the group for my 11 year old daughter, so I can't speak to the effectiveness yet. I will say that my daughter was previously in an ABA based social group that she HATED. Even that one, I felt like she was learning and I could see some improvement in her ability to connect with others. Shelly makes a great effort to match the children in appropriate groups and I have to say that she seems to have done a great job with that. The kids in my daughter's group are very similar (and sound a lot like your child, too) and they enjoy spending time together. I like Shelly's approach and there is a parent report at the end of the class, which includes things that should be reinforced at home. For us, there has also been a far amount of contact between sessions as issues that the children are encountering are the basis for her sessions, so she counsels parents and provides context and language. I was worried after having waited almost a year to get in, but so far I am very happy.