GNO skills groups give girls and young women with and without disabilities a chance to develop and improve social and self-care skills during age-appropriate activities.
We target social skills related to conversation, phone and texting, making and maintaining friendships, planning events and establishing community social networks.
We also target self-care skills, with previous sessions on fashion, makeup, body care, hair care, and nutrition and fitness. Sessions occur within the community to allow for teaching and practice in social and self care activities.
Past sessions include visits to salons, workout facilities, parks, restaurants, cosmetic and clothing stores, arts and crafts, and much more. Best of all...GNO is fun!
GNO skills groups are for girls with autism and other developmental disabilities. Most groups include girls 14-19 years old. However, we plan to develop groups for younger girls and young adults. We form groups based on age and area of need or interest. Complete a participant intake form to be considered for a group! We also include typically developing peers in GNO skills groups. We provide training to our peers, community service hours for participation, and an incredible opportunity to gain leadership skills and interact with a fabulous group of girls. See our peer partnerships page for more information.
Skills groups occur throughout the year and are planned based on staff availability and community demand. We recruit participants by reviewing existing intakes and community announcements. We hope to have 2-3 skills groups offered each year. See our GNO news and activities page for information about the next group and other opportunities.
GNO skills groups typically occur once a week for about 12-15 weeks. Sessions are usually on a weeknight evening from 6 to 8 p.m.
There is a fee for service, with the cost depending on the length of program and activities. The fee includes all sessions and covers staff time, support materials, and some activity or transportation fees. Some sessions require a small amount of spending money for food or activities. Information about these anticipated costs is provided to families prior to beginning GNO. We have received several grants in the past that help offset costs for participants and provide support for materials. We recruit community partners that often welcome us into their businesses, donate their time, services, and/or products to the girls in our group.
We do not have any scholarships to help fund participation at this time. We are beginning fundraising efforts with hopes to offer scholarships and other low-cost or no-cost activities. Our administration will work with families on an individual basis to ensure the appropriate payment plan, if needed. We encourage families to look for opportunities in the community that provide scholarships for participation in programs such as ours, as some girls have found these in the past.
We utilize effective strategies such as visual supports (e.g., steps and/or pictures of a self-care routine, cue cards with conversation tips, magnets with skill steps, scrapbooks or planners with all the supports we use), social narratives (stories about a social situation or skill that include why it is important and what to do, presentations on the IPAD that include pictures and steps), role playing, video modeling (e.g., watching videos demonstrating conversation skills we are teaching), a coaching model (e.g., giving girls feedback about what they are doing well during skill practice and social activities), and skill practice (e.g., practicing conversation skills during age appropriate activities, practice with hair and make up, picking out clothes) to support all activities.
Some of our activities include: Dinner out, dancing, jewelry making, fitness activities, painting pottery, horseback riding, coffeehouse handouts, visit to a salon, fashion events, cooking, movie night and a Worlds of Fun outing.