S2 E11 Podcast: BRAINS – Navigating The Risks/Rewards of Relationships

  • BRAINS - Navigating The Risks/Rewards of Relationships

BRAINS – Navigating The Risks/Rewards of Relationships
Season 2 Episode 11 #43
October 27, 2021
Podcast Link: BRAINS – Navigating The Risks/Rewards of Relationships

Growing up can be hard. Especially the teenage years. And even more so if the teenager in question has social skill deficits. As humans we are all “hard wired” for relationships with other humans. Individuals living with autism often want to develop skills necessary to make and keep friends. They need to learn the skills necessary to navigate various social situations in which they may not feel comfortable. And they also must learn how to manage conflict and rejection. Parents and care providers may feel clueless on how to help teens develop the social skills necessary to engage with neuro-typical peers. But where there is a will…. there is a way! The Social Skills Group at BRAINS in Grand Rapids, MI recently concluded their Social Skills Group summer session based upon a program developed at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA. The Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS®) provides evidence-based social skills treatment to preschoolers, adolescents, and young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, depression, and other socio-emotional problems. PEERS® isn’t a diagnostic tool. It is a tool kit designed to help individuals develop social skills through didactic lessons and role play demonstrations as well as providing participants opportunities to practice these skills through socialization activities. And IT WORKS! I hope you enjoy today’s presentation! The development of social skills has the power to change and enhance the life experience of everyone who seeks to belong, to be seen, and to engage with the world around them.



Kelly has over twenty years of experience working with youth and families. She brings extensive knowledge of the educational system to her work, stemming from her experience as a teacher and school social worker. Kelly also understands the complexity of managing chronic illness and acute medical needs from her years working as a hospital social worker. Kelly works with adolescents and adults, always working first to build a positive therapeutic relationship to best understand both the challenges and the strengths each person brings to therapy. Kelly supports people in setting clear goals for therapy and finding the best ways to reach these goals. The approach is related to the individual needs of each person, with Kelly often utilizing cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, talk therapy as well as art and other activities.

Kelly moved to Grand Rapids four years ago with her husband and two children, seeking a relaxed lifestyle with access to all the beauty in West Michigan. Kelly loves spending time with her family, learning about her children’s varied interests, being outside, baking and reading.


Kate has been with BRAINS since 2020. She works with children and adults on the Autism Spectrum and those who struggle with social skills. She works with clients in both individual and group settings. Additionally, Kate performs the ADOS assessment as part of an Autism diagnostic evaluation. Prior to joining BRAINS, Kate completed a post-doc at Michigan State University in the Autism Research Lab.

Kate grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, but has moved all around the country for school. She currently lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and newborn daughter, Nora. Outside of her work at BRAINS, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her family and friends!



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