Help for Children with Anxiety and Peer-related Issues

Socially Vulnerable Groups for Children 8 to 12

Teaneck, NJ (March 3, 2009) — Children withdraw from social activities and relationships for many reasons, including anxiety, fear of being embarrassed, or a history of negative interactions.  Whatever the reason, when social anxiety or withdrawal leads to poor peer relationships, there are often other difficulties involved.  

For instance, children may not be socially savvy, may be easily distracted, or may struggle with learning issues.  Ultimately, these children may become socially vulnerable, which means they are ignored, excluded, or, even worse, actively rejected by their peers.  At the same time, most of these children not only are unaware of how their behavior alienates their peers, but also have great difficulty understanding why they are not accepted.  

Socially vulnerable children frequently misperceive others’ intentions, misinterpret others’ remarks, believe that nothing is ever his or her fault, become easily frustrated , complain of constant fatigue, and insist on doing everything his or her way

If the common signs of social vulnerability are exhibited by children in your household or you’re aware of a child that is experiencing this problem, free socially vulnerable groups are available at Fairleigh Dickinson University.  Ideal participants are children that struggle with anxiety, peer-related issues, and have some form of documented (or suspected) neurological conditions such as ADHD-inattentive type, learning disabilities/weaknesses, processing or memory issues.  

The socially vulnerable groups, which are free, and part of a research program, consist of either 10 (weekly) group sessions emphasizing anxiety reduction and changing misperceptions or 10 (weekly) group sessions emphasizing the application of broad-based social skills.  Group assignments will be determined randomly.  Both groups emphasize specific coping skills to help improve a child’s peer relationships.  In order to qualify for the program, parents must have a child eight to twelve years of age.  

Andrew R. Eisen, Ph.D., associate professor and the director of FDU’s Child Anxiety Disorders Clinic, will supervise the groups led by advanced doctoral students in FDU’s clinical psychology program.  Eisen is the author of seven books and has published numerous articles.  At the conclusion of the program, parents will receive a complimentary copy of his book, “Helping your socially vulnerable child: What to do when your child is shy, socially anxious, withdrawn, or bullied.”

The groups are part of an ongoing research project.  Although the groups are free, a low-cost intake ($30) and social skills screening ($20) is part of the program to help ensure that participants meet required criteria.  

Low-cost individual and group programs are also available at the Center for participants that experience a variety of problems, but do not meet required criteria for the socially vulnerable groups.  

Following the intake and screening, a refundable deposit is required for participation.  The socially vulnerable groups are ongoing and part of the Center for Psychological Services at FDU.  

Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Child Anxiety Disorders Clinic, in the Center for Psychological Services, is located at 131 Temple Avenue, Hackensack, NJ 07601.

The number of places are limited, so interested parents are encouraged to call groups coordinator Karen Zwillenberg at (201) 692-2645 for an initial screening, information and specific requirements regarding participation.  Be sure to mention interest in the “Socially Vulnerable” groups.

For Immediate Release

Metropolitan Campus
Office of Public Relations
Metropolitan Campus
Fairleigh Dickinson University
1000 River Road
Teaneck, NJ 07666
Gretchen Johnson
201 692 7032
Melissa Payton
201 692 7034

Office of Public Relations
College at Florham
Fairleigh Dickinson University
285 Madison Avenue
Madison, NJ 07940
Scott Giglio
973 443 8756
Lillian Lukac
973 443 8661