1. What is the purpose of the S.S. GRIN program?
S.S.GRIN (Social Skills Group Intervention) is a group therapy intervention program that is designed to build both children's general social skills and their social relationships with peers. Children learn and practice basic behavioural and cognitive social skills such as communication, self-control, perspective talking, conflict management, and the initiation of activities. Teaching of pro-social skills is combined with the recognition and remediation of negative perceptions and negative behaviours, in an effort to help children manage their emotions, build self confidence, and enhance their coping strategies for social problems such as teasing and peer pressure. In addition, children are taught to set goals and assess the consequences of their actions. The program integrates each skill into an overall cognitive framework of self-esteem, respect, and responsibility.
2. With whom can it be used?
S.S. GRIN is primarily designed to address the needs of children who have significant difficulty with peer relationships. Therefore, this program is ideal for children with immature social skills relative to other children of the same age, children who are rejected and victimized by their peers, and children who are socially anxious and awkward towards their peers. Although it is not limited to this category, children with impulse control problems, such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, are usually suitable for this program. Although S.S.GRIN is designed for children from kindergarten through grade 5, a similar program called S.S.GRIN-A is available for adolescents.
3. What teaching procedures should be used with the S.S. GRIN program?
S.S.GRIN is a highly structured, manualized program that is 10 weeks in length. Children attend 10 group sessions, typically once a week, with each meeting lasting for 50 minutes. Sessions have scripted content that aims to facilitate the development of both verbal and nonverbal prosocial skills of communication, initiation, cooperation, compromise, and negotiation. Negative behaviours are decreased through the growth of skills for management of emotions, impulse control, and investigating assumptions. Skills for coping with teasing and peer pressure, including positive assertion, are also taught. Each session involves didactic instruction combined with active practice in the form of role playing, modeling and hands on games and activities. Positive reinforcement, corrective feedback, and cognitive reframing are important teaching methods. Each session’s content builds upon that of previous sessions so that new information is integrated with acquired information in a step-wise fashion. Behaviour management is accomplished through the use of token economy both in the short-term (end of each session) and the long-term (end of all sessions).
The 3-C Institute for Social Development website, at www.3cisd.com/products/ssgrin/purchasing. php, states that S.S.GRIN can be purchased by contacting LaTonya Gale at (919) 677-0101 ext. 24 or by sending an email inquiry to email@example.com. The S.S.GRIN professional manual comes with the resources needed to organize and conduct S.S.GRIN groups. Contents include:
Instructional guidelines for group composition, structure, and setup
Session scripts for each of the 10 sessions
Activity guides explaining activities used during the sessions
Child activity worksheets to be completed during the sessions
Pre- and post-data collection measures and guidelines
4. In what type of settings should the S.S. GRIN program be used?
S.S.GRIN can be used both in school and clinical settings and is generally implemented in small groups that include children experiencing social difficulties, such as children who are disliked, bullied and/or are socially anxious.
Administration of the S.S.GRIN program requires professional training in the form of the completion of a full day training program. Training is offered several times a year through the 3-C Institute for Social Development, which is approved by the American Psychological Association to offer continuing education for psychologists. S.S.GRIN training is generally suitable for professionals who have experience with child mental health such as child psychologists, school psychologists, school counselors, social workers and other school personnel involved with encouraging and developing positive peer relationships and building children’s coping skills.
5. To what extent has research shown the S.S. GRIN program to be useful?
Since S.S.GRIN began in 1994, ongoing quantitative evaluation has repeatedly and consistently supported its effectiveness for improving children’s social skills and subsequent peer relationships. When examining the usefulness of the S.S.GRIN program in a school-based setting, it was found that children who participated in S.S.GRIN groups showed (1) improvement in their attitudes towards peers whereas control children showed a decline, (2) improvement in self-esteem and self-efficacy for social situations whereas control children showed declines in these areas, and (3) a decrease in antisocial affiliations whereas control children affiliated more with antisocial peers at follow-up. Aggressive children especially showed many benefits. A follow-up study was completed one year after this S.S.GRIN program ended and the results showed that children who had participated in the social skills intervention continued to have better adjustment than children in the control group. It was found that children who participated in S.S.GRIN had not only maintained the immediate benefits of treatment one year later, but over time, were more successful in changing their peers’ perception of their behaviour and social acceptability.
DeRosier, M.E. (2004). Building friendships and combating bullying: Effectiveness of a school-based social skills group intervention. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 33(1), 196-201.
DeRosier, M.E. (2005). Building friendships and combating bullying: Effectiveness of S.S.GRIN at one-year follow-up. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 34(1), 140-150.
Website for the 3-C Institute for Social Development and the S.S.GRIN program: www.3cisd.com/products/ssgrin
Reviewed by: Holly McGinn