Conversation Club:  A Social Pragmatic Skills Group for Adults with Autism

conversation club members and clinician

About the Conversation Club

The Conversation Club is a social skills group intervention for adults with autism.  Given the prevalence of autism has increased 10-fold over the past decade to approximately 1 in 88 children (Centers for Disease Control, 2008), there is a growing number of older individuals (adolescent/adults) with autism in need of appropriate interventions and services. 

The Conversation Club, developed by Dr. Shubha Kashinath, collaborates with the College Link Program (CLP) to provide social pragmatic interventions to college level students with autism enrolled at CSU East Bay.  The Conversation Club is structured to increase participants’ use of appropriate social communication skills in naturally occurring activities and settings.  The treatment program incorporates principles of Theory of Mind and Social Cognition in an inclusive setting to facilitate participants’ acquisition, practice, and generalization of targeted social skills.

Who can attend?

The group currently includes CSUEB students who are enrolled in the College Link Program.

When and where will therapy take place?

The group consist of 4-5 members and is facilitated by graduate student clinicians under the supervision of a certified speech-language pathologist.  The group meets on the CSUEB campus.

What can I expect?

Each quarter, the groups meet to identify individual social and pragmatic goals around a theme related to social communication.  Past themes have included: The art of conversation, Making Friends and Understanding Non-Verbal Communication.  Each session targets specific skills related to the theme.  Each session includes structured discussion and practice of target skills, role-playing and problem-solving and practice with peer volunteers.  The quarter ends with a community based outing decided by the participants (such as bowling, mini-golf etc). Common skills targeted include:

  • Interpreting non-verbal language
  • The art of small talk
  • Learning to take another person’s perspective
  • Hidden social rules in various settings (restaurants, dorms, library)
  • Including others in conversations
  • Learning to disagree
  • Use of appropriate tone and register of voice
  • Initiating and maintaining conversations
  • Interviewing skills.

The Conversation Club is currently led by Jennifer Rosenquist with support from Dr. Kashinath.  Interested persons can call the CSUEB Speech, Language and Hearing Clinic at (510) 885- 3241, or email Dr. Shubha Kashinath directly at shubha.kashinath@csueastbay.edu.

News and Events

Check out the following articles about the Conversation Club/CLP:

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