Episode #72 Interview with Social Skills Laboratory LLC with Owner John Williamson, M.S., CCC-SLP

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  John Williamson, M.S., CCC-SLP
Owner, Lead Therapist at the Social Skills Laboratory, PLLC
206-372-5490 John@SocialSkillsLab.com

John Williamson has extensive experience working with children across a wide age range with a variety of communication-related challenges. Previously, he worked at Lakeside Center for Autism and Neurodevelopment (now I-CAN) and at Children’s Institute for Learning Differences (CHILD) before starting his own private practice.

He is originally from Washington State and received his master’s degree in Clinical Speech-Language Pathology from Northern Arizona University before moving back to the Pacific Northwest. He also has a Certificate of Clinical Competency from the American Speech-Hearing Association (ASHA).

He operates via a home visits model while also providing virtual teletherapy options. He has both individual speech therapy sessions and a variety of Friendship/Social Skills Groups available. John Williamson also offers parent coaching, autism screenings, teletherapy training for other providers/schools, and a variety of other consultative-type services.

At this time, John Williamson is contracted with Premera Blue Cross insurance for individual speech therapy sessions and is happy to provide detailed session invoices so that families may seek potential reimbursement from other insurance companies. He also accepts most HSA/FSA cards.

Automatic Transcription from Otter.ai

students, social skills, skills, work, families, articulation, home visits, sessions, john, virtual, tele, topics, conversation, language, groups, talk, young adults, flexible, concrete, parents

Hey everybody. Welcome back to another episode of the autism and action podcast. Today we have another very special guest. We've got Mr. JOHN Williamson. He's with the social skills laboratory out of Bellevue Washington.

Morning, john, how's it going, dude?


dude. Well, thanks for having me on. Yeah. Thanks for being here. JOHN, tell us a little bit about your business and kind of how you got started. Yeah, so I launched in 2017. Just as a part time endeavor, I was working evenings and weekends with some students, I worked at a school job and then went to do home visits with some families. It gradually grew and grew. And eventually, I decided to take it full time, about a year and a half ago. Two years ago, I launched full time and made it my full time business. I primarily do home visits around the east side and Seattle area. And in the age of COVID. I've also added on a tele therapy portion to my business. So I'd say I'm in a hybrid model of home visits, and tele therapy. I do individual speech therapy sessions for students with a wide range of challenges, including social skills, challenges, social anxiety, as well as articulation, language difficulties. I work with a lot of kids that have autism and similar situations going on. But I don't exclusively work with that. I also work with a lot of kids on like reading skills, or standard SNR, articulation. And then I run some friendship groups on Saturdays, and they're online right now. And those are groups of like three to six students, and they work together with their peers to learn social skills, and to practice, good scope, expected social skills, and what all is involved in that. Nice, nice. It's obviously a huge event, a huge emphasis on social skills, which sort of leads to our next kind of topic. And that, like, you and me have been working on a measure our listeners know this, but we've been working on social skills course, called the real life social skills course, or the real life social skills video course, I should say, I happen to chime in on this view. But when would you be able to talk a little bit about that project? Yeah, it's been a lot of fun. We've teamed up and we're working on creating our first unit, it's gonna be on conversation skills, it's gonna be about 1213 lessons focused on a wide range of topics that fall under the umbrella conversation skills. Like you mentioned, it's a video course. So it involves like, narration and text mixed with videos of us role playing different scenarios. And then we try to really make it concrete and break down the social skill steps for students in a very concrete manner. Let's say it's geared towards a little bit older students, I probably middle school would be the youngest, you know, three young adults. That's kind of how we're aiming it. And, yes, we're trying to make it concrete, we're trying to make it helpful step by step. And hopefully, students can learn some awesome skills at home or through the school. You know, their teacher decides to purchase it. We're really excited about this course. Nice, nice. Well, we're gonna have that coming out on May 3, and it's going to be on life skills advocate comm slash social social skills course. For anyone interested in checking that out, check it out on May 3. And yeah, I think like you said, the concreteness has dropped is probably what really sets this course apart from others when you say that's three. Yeah, I think so. Because we're trying to we both have a lot of experience working with students who would benefit from this type, of course. And so we're trying to apply our knowledge to how we create, we're trying to keep the video scanner, shorter, short, sweet, concrete, full of good information, but not overwhelming. And really break things out so that students can follow along, or young adults can follow along in a step by step manner. We're trying to avoid keeping it vague or abstract, just really trying to break down the skills. Yeah, when I think each lesson is no more than like four minutes and 30 seconds or something like that. We are talking about things like introducing yourself and others, you're joining a group conversation already in progress, and then going all the way into things like deciphering the difference between figurative versus literal language, which is a little bit more of a high level skill, but some really, some really cool stuff. And I'm super excited to kind of get it out there. And yeah, and I super appreciate your collaboration in this john and you've been been awesome. Yeah, thanks. It's been a lot of fun. I feel like we complement each other well, if their skill sets and it's worked out really well. Yeah. And just to let all our listeners know, we will be offering a 20% off discount to anybody. anybody listening to this episode who has the promo code autism inaction all one word on 20% No autism in action, all one word. Joshua, what you got?

I think this is just an amazing collaboration between life skills advocate and social skills laboratory to really bring some awesome visual resources that are very much needed to help all of our kiddos our teams and our young adults learn how to interact a little bit more effectively with communication and feel more comfortable doing that also. So this is so needed. So

yeah, yeah, we're really excited about it. Thank you.

You're welcome. So you guys, I'm out at social skills laboratory, kind of going back to what you do for just a minute. You said you started in 2017. And then this is just kind of evolved and grown and and what all kinds of different services do you offer right now?

Yeah, so I do the, like I mentioned, I have resumed some home visits with precautions for families that are on board with that and live in my travel radius. So I do the individual sessions via home visits. I do the tele therapy sessions, which works really well for some students. Not all, of course, but I do teletherapy via zoom, one on one sessions, virtually for speech therapy. And then, like I mentioned, I have those friendship groups those around on Saturdays, and those are virtual right now on zoom as well. And there, yeah, three to five to six students. And I'm more of a facilitator, and a little bit of a teacher, and we work on topics like being flexible with our friends, initiating conversations, handling compromise and conflict, we work on topics like that play a lot of games, I try to make it more fun than just them being in an hour of school on Saturdays. So yeah, that's the goal of, of those groups. And those still have spots open. You know, if anybody's in Washington, it can be anywhere in the state now because of the virtual component, not just in the east side. So that's exciting. And then I also do some parents coaching, and I do some, yeah, just kind of coaching initially, some parents have come to me with like, concerns about their child, and I can't give diagnoses officially. But I can kind of interact with the child and talk with the parent about potential next steps, things like that, if they're concerned about their child's like social or language development. I also do have some formal assessments for doing speech and language evaluations. A lot of those kind of have to be done in person, but not all of them. And so for articulation, I can do that one pretty easily online. And then some of the other assessments, I wouldn't need to do a home visit. But I can do speech and language assessments with families as well. Yeah, the video collaboration has been a big, big project in the last six months or so. So that's been exciting. And, yeah, I think that's most of my services. It's just me right now. So at some point, I may try to expand, but I'm keeping it in house for now. And I like to emphasize the convenience I offer with the home business in the virtual sessions, families are very busy, and especially right now with often kids are home from school to parents are working. And having that convenience or someone come to your house, or just do something on the online setup can be really beneficial for families versus having to leave school, pick their kids up, leave their house, go a half hour to clinic space. And so I kind of, I'm able to work with families in a convenient, flexible manner. Well, I

know virtual services definitely bring in that convenience factor, like you just mentioned. And also right the allow it allowing them to participate in extra activities, like what you guys were talking about before with your collaboration, and the the new social skills video course that you guys are offering. Yeah, I've

gotten pretty good at online therapy, I have a lot of resources I can screen share. And a lot of the sessions, like I said, For students who are able to attend usually a little bit older and you know, are able to be present in a video session. It can go really well. And it's been really successful with a lot of students. I think I'll continue it as a big part of my practice moving forward. Chris, do

you have anything else to add?

Yeah, well, I mean, kind of thinking back on the social skills courses. One of the things I'm super excited about on the wall. I mean, we're obviously starting off with conversation skills, though. What other sorts of units you kind of perceived as turning into or being added later? Yeah, I think we're gonna launch units down the road on topics like perspective, taking assertiveness, being flexible, socially and cognitively flexible. I think that's a huge topic. We'll probably do some more around kind of like life. skills are day in the life of a student at varying stages of school or work. We'll try to make it again really concrete in real life and a lot of these and do a lot more scenario based lessons, I think down the road. conversation skills, one is pretty encompassing, too, it's a pretty broad topic, we get a lot of different things. So I think it's a good launch point, though, we definitely have a lot of directions we can go in the future to. Absolutely, and I think one of the things we're going to be emphasizing as we kind of go through this is making sure we're really collecting feedback from people that actually are either taking our course, or interested in getting our course, like, what are the things that you care most about? Um, so we'll have surveys and, and, you know, potentially, like focus groups and things like that, to sort of, to sort of get the pulse of our, of our audience. So, john, where can people find out more about what you do? Yeah, so my website is www dot social skills, lab.com. And then I also send out a little flyer out, so hopefully, that can get out via email or an email list. And then my email address is john j. o h. n, at social skills, lab, Comm. emails, usually the easiest way to get ahold of me, but my phone numbers also listed on the website, and you can certainly give me a call as well. I think it's a pretty nice website. Yeah. It's, it's got all the information you need. So there's a little picture of me so you can see what I look like, if you're just listening to this podcast, all that good stuff. So

john, we always like to part with your insight and knowledge and advice. What What is the one piece of advice that you would want our listeners, our parents or professionals to tune into?

Yeah, that's a great question. I think that this has been a really challenging last 12 months, especially for families with students who have social skills related challenges. I think it's been very isolated. And I think that that's been really hard for a lot of students, it's across the board. So I would really encourage families to get out there and just try it to be tapped in as much as they can. Even the virtual resources. It's not the same as in person. I'm aware of that. But I think the more that you can be connected even virtually during this time, I think, hopefully, things are trending up. But you know, for the rest of this year, and however long I think it's just really good to, to try to stay connected as best as you can, whether that's with social groups, or trying to do like game groups or just trying to find some online resources for your students is really important. And they are out there. It can be hard to find, but they are out there.

Awesome. Well, thank

you so much for taking the time to be here today.

Yeah, it was great. Thank you.

You're welcome.

Appreciate it.

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