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What is the GoriLLA Group?

The Chapel Hill TEACCH Center is offering a group intervention model for children with autism and their parents. The “Growing, Learning, and Living with Autism” group sessions are intended for students who are primarily included in regular education in their school and have appropriate reading skills for their grade level. Students will be grouped by grade level: Kindergarten to 1st grade; 2nd to 4th grades, 3rd to 5th grades, or Middle School students. There will be up to a total of 4 children per group and at least one parent is required to attend each time.

The program will consist of ten weekly sessions

One individual informal assessment session with an autism specialist working with the child to determine learning style and strengths and challenges, and meeting with the parent(s) to discuss concerns and goals for the intervention sessions.

Eight group sessions which will consist of a mix of large group activities (parents and children together) and small group activities in which the children will work with one autism specialist while the parents work with another. Curriculum includes activities from Social Thinking ™ and use of Structured TEACCHing.

Topics covered will include activities related to the individualized goals as well as the following topics:

  • The Social World – Getting to Know New People/Working in a Group
  • Autism as it Relates to Me and/or Self-Advocacy
  • Self-Management – Anger/Anxiety and Coping Strategies
  • Breaking the Communication Code
  • The Social World – Friendships and Bullying
  • The Social World – The Rules They Don’t Tell You
  • Organizational Skills
  • Each family will have the option of one individual session after the group sessions are completed. This session can be used to work on ongoing goals, to explore new issues that have come up in group sessions, or to make visuals to help implement these strategies at home.

This will not be a social skills group per se; however, social skills will be addressed and practiced as they relate to the topic of the day. Autism will be discussed with the children in the older groups, and it is expected that older students will have some understanding about their diagnosis before the sessions start.

If you are interested in participating in this group, contact Michelle Kellogg at michelle_kellogg@med.unc.edu

Questions – Contact us at 919.966-5156