Integrated Adventure Social Skill Groups

Vendorized by the GGRC

Positive Pathways uses the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) to teach children with autism and developmental disabilities (DDs) social skills that are necessary for successful social interactions with others at school and in the community. To meet the socialization needs of these children, Positive Pathways uses a unique integrative program structure that includes neurotypical peers and siblings, focuses on independent living skills, and access to public leisure and recreational facilities throughout San Francisco. These social skills are taught in a fun, engaging, and supportive environment to help each child use them in their everyday worlds. Parents are also encouraged to actively participate to learn how to teach these social skills to their children at home.

For children with Autism and DDs aged 2 to 12. Children are grouped by age and level of ability.

To meet the needs of children with Autism and DDs, Positive Pathway’s Adventure Groups focus on the following areas:

  1. Community Integration with an emphasis on independent living skills activities. In this area, the program focuses on teaching the following independent living skills:
    • Using age appropriate coping skills to regulate behaviors and emotional experiences (i.e. self-management/behavior regulation)
    • The groups focus on teaching a “culture of calm” to promote adaptive emotional functioning and coping skills and increase integration within various community settings.
    • When children are able to manage their own behavior they have greater opportunities for integration within community activities, opportunities to focus on relational interactions with peers, and improve engagement in school, at home, and in the community.
    • Using feelings to understand our own behavior and the behavior of others
    • Leadership skills: children take turns being the group’s “leader” for the day, which increases self-efficacy, self-esteem, and fosters independence
    • Problem solving skills to help children navigate their worlds and foster independence
    • Staying engaged and physically with the group members. “Sticking together” is an important “rule” for the group to encourage engagement, opportunities to foster relationships, and important safety skills that increase a child’s independence
    • Abstract and inferential thinking Including imaginative and thematic play that increases flexible thinking and helps children to be independent thinkers
  2. Use of San Francisco’s public recreation and leisure facilities to promote community involvement and integration. Children will go on hikes, wilderness explorations, nature field trips, “rock climb” on play structures with the help of friends, play highly engaging and interactive games, participate in treasure hunts in teams, and much more! Examples of group meeting places within San Francisco:
    • Julius Kahn Playground
    • Yerba Buena Gardens
    • Children’s Playground, Golden Gate Park
    • Helen Diller Playground, Dolores Park
    • Public libraries

*In the case of inclement weather, groups will meet at indoor public recreational facilities throughout San Francisco or in a group member’s home per parent approval. These various community locations will help to promote the generalization of skills as children will be required to adapt to a variety of settings within the community. 

Helen Diller Playground, Mission Dolores Park for the younger adventurers!


Glen Canyon Park for hikes and games!


Nature hunts in Land’s End for the maturing adventurer with a keen eye for treasures!