Craig McCullough, MSc, MIACP, is a certified PEERS® provider that brings this programme to Ireland after creating a successful PEERS® programme in the States. His 20+ years of experience in clinical mental health, schools, and working with developmentally delayed youth offer a source of resource and connection to the families he serves.
In addition, Craig has also raised a child on the Autism Spectrum which has offered him an intimate perspective of these challenges and wonderful characteristics people with brain differences share.
Marc Romero completed his undergraduate in Psychology and Master's in Clinical Psychology in Spain In 2017 and is a PEERS® certified provider. He moved to Ireland as part of his European Voluntary Service and got in touch with working with neurologically diverse clients in 2017. He found it rewarding and decided to invest all his time and energy in that area, working with young adults on the Spectrum in residential services, day services and psychological services. He also noticed a lack of a specific programming which would help teenagers/young adults to acquire and increase their social skills. Then in 2021 he met Craig McCullough and PEERS® Ireland. I was so impressed by the programme that I decided to complete the PEERS® Certified Training at the UCLA clinic in Los Angeles, becoming a provider myself.
Assisting the clinicians are interns from local university programmes in the behavioral health fields. Their work includes important insight in the contemporary challenges of social interactions with the world of technology often being a distraction. Their coaching and care offer the youth in the programme the special support they deserve.
We first require a free 15-minute phone screen with the parent and participant to ensure that the group is a good fit. Once this is determined, we schedule the intake appointment completing paperwork and the overall application process which then holds your space for the next course.
We are now offering the programme with a hybrid of online and in person meetings. The research showed that the benefits of the programme were the same online as they were in person after in person meetings were forced to go online due to Covid-19. We also value the opportunity of the more organic experience of continuing to schedule at least four sessions in a course in person. The online option has its benefits of giving access to care for families that are too far from the Dublin area and reduces the stress of an added extra weekly commute during rush hours. We believe the hybrid version overall is the most beneficial.
Yes. We accommodate parents’ involvement but only one consistent parent is required to come each week. Parents sometimes substitute for each other if needed. We discourage this any more than 2 or 3 times for the duration of the program as one consistent coach have shown better outcomes.
The young adult curriculum covers four sessions on dating etiquette yet able to cover all the essentials from the teen curriculum.
They are often fast paced using a Socratic method of teaching which allows members of the group to identify the social steps or rules. This often works better with young people learning from their peers. Positive reinforcement with the use of points for participation is tallied on the board during each session.
We utilize visual aids, writing steps on the white board to help different types of learners. We also are able to make accommodations to some members to aid in their learning process when possible. Members of the group grow to enjoy each week feeling safe with like-minded youth and taking part in the activities that assimilate social gatherings and connections.
We utilize a solution-focused and strength-based focus. The group is not designed to be a support group but more tailored to focus on helping coaches support and motivate teens and young adults to take some social risks and practicing the weekly skills taught and reviewed each week.
We can offer an intern to be the coach which includes up to an hour of coaching each week in between sessions for a nominal extra charge.