Lisa Popper is a certified PEERS instructor and a credentialed teacher holding a BA in Psychology from the California University of Long Beach. She has effectively mentored children, teens, and young adults with Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Depression, Bipolar, and Schizophrenia for over 20 years. Ms. Popper also works as a life coach for children, teens, and young adults and their families who wish to continue their social skills training beyond the 14-week program or for those who choose to work privately.
In addition to her professional experience, Ms. Popper is uniquely qualified to teach this program as she is the parent of a successful high functioning ASD son who is currently attending college and working. Social Skills Development Center was started by Ms. Popper in response to the need for a center to teach important social skills to individuals lacking the ability to do so innately. Her personal experience working with school districts, teachers, and navigating the IEP process comforts the scores of parents who have taken her classes. Her willingness to share her experiences and resources makes her a valueable resource to the community.
According to Ms. Popper, “Adequate social skills therapy for socially awkward children, teens and young adults is nonexistent today. In order to succeed later in life, these individuals need to acquire the skills necessary to thrive in their own social networks, employment fields, and educational arenas. Unfortunately, these skills are not adequately taught in schools. We have found that once these individuals are taught the techniques we present and apply them to their every day life, we see a huge improvement in their whole outlook on life. Not only does the child's self-esteem improve, but most parents also report that their social life increases two-fold. No longer are they sitting in front of a computer screen or video game, they are socially engaged with others and enjoying the process. We are proud to be a part of that growth and are excited to share this evidence-based program with you."
Ms. Popper is active in the community serving as past President for the Guild for Infant Survival, Orange County and current Chairperson for the Angel of Hope located in Lake Forest. She is currently working on her MA in Psychology at California Southern University in Irvine.
Janet Wells is a certified PEERS instructor and holds an MBA from Pepperdine University and a BA from the California University of Fullerton. Ms. Wells is well qualified for her work as she brings over 30 years of Human Resources experience as a Director of Human Resources in the public sector; specializing in employee relations, training, creative dispute resolution and mediation.
Ms. Wells volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). She has been specially screened and trained and appointed by a judge to oversee and manage the best interests of an abused, neglected or abandoned child. She has also worked to assist young adults in learning English and preparing for careers during her six years as a volunteer English as a Second Lanugage instructor. Ms. Wells identified a need in her community and created and managed a community ESL program which provided instruction for as many as 100 students at one time. In addition, Ms. Wells completed an extensive one-year training program at her church to serve as a Lay Counselor.
Ms. Wells states, "I have personally seen the progress of the students attending the social skills classes and have seen our kids literally blossom before our eyes. Students have learned the necessary skills to assist them in navigating the many social challenges at school and at home. The parents and the children graduate from the class feeling a sense of accomplishment and the students experience a heightened level of self-esteem."
Ms. Wells is excited to begin her work this fall towards earning a Ph.D. in Psychology at Pacifica University in Carpentaria, CA.