The Friendship Lab™ is a 9-week social skills program designed for children who struggle socially. Research has demonstrated effective use of The Friendship Lab™ with 7-12 year old children diagnosed with high-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The Friendship Lab™ is a highly visual and engaging program delivered through comic strip stories. The main characters of these stories are scientist, his apprentice, and his dog. During the first lesson, the scientist invites children to participate in his laboratory, as he and his team investigate human relationships. Throughout lessons, which are projected onto a screen, children view others  interact in relatable situations in which story characters are both successful and ineffective in their social responses. Importantly, effective thought processes are taught through the use of thought-bubbles and rich mental state language.

Concepts taught:
Theory of Mind

Skills taught:
Initiating and maintaining a two-way conversation
Being a good sport
Entering into play (including accepting rejection)
Handling Teasing

Parent-assisted Learning
A parent or guardian must attend concurrent sessions to learn how to support the child in learning and maintaining skills. Practice assignments are given each week to promote skill acquisition and generalization. These assignments include activities such as engaging in conversation, making phone calls, playing games and hosting get-togethers.

Other applications:
Although written for and researched with children with ASD, some adolescents have enjoyed and benefited from the program as have children and youth with other social challenges.

How to participate:

Children and Parents:
If you live in the Durham Region or Greater Toronto Area, please contact us with regard to locations and times of groups. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for up-to-date information.

Educators and Therapists:
If you are interested in facilitating The Friendship Lab™ in your school or clinic, we’d love to hear from you. The Friendship Lab™ has been used by a school board in Ontario and has also been successfully modified to be used daily at summer camp and in school settings. Training in group facilitation is available.