Calvin Adoption Study Group

Basic information

  • Dates: 2019

The Calvin Adoption Study Group was formed in 2009 in order to conduct research and provide interventions with adopted individuals and their families. The Group is led by Dr. Emily Helder, who is a clinical neuropsychologist specializing in child cognitive, behavioral and emotional adjustment, especially following trauma or early deprivation.
In 2016 we completed a longitudinal outcomes study of children who were adopted internationally and have, more recently, been participating on the editorial team of The Routledge International Handbook of Adoption, which will be published in winter 2019. Currently, we are initiating a social skills intervention study for adopted adolescents and their parents, which was funded by a grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund.

Social Skills Intervention Study

High quality peer relationships play an important role in adolescent development and are linked to mental health and behavioral outcomes for teens. The Calvin Adoption Study Group is excited to offer a grant-funded intervention program for adopted adolescents and their parents. PEERS® for Adolescents is a 16-week evidence-based social skills intervention for motivated teens, ages 13 to 17, who are interested in learning new ways of making and keeping friends. PEERS® was originally developed at UCLA for use in autism, but has been applied more broadly in recent years.

Calvin’s study would represent the first application of this intervention among adopted individuals. During each weekly group session, teens are taught important social skills and are given the opportunity to practice these skills in session during socialization activities. Parents attend separate sessions at the same time and are taught how to assist their teens in making and keeping friends by helping to expand their teen’s social network and providing feedback through coaching during weekly socialization homework assignments.

The Michigan Health Endowment Fund has provided financial support for implementing the intervention at Calvin through 2021, so there is no cost to families seeking to participate. View our study flyer for more information. Please contact us via or the contact form below if you would like to enroll in the study or if you have more questions.

Resource Links

Contact Form


Please contact us if you would like to enroll in the study or if you have more questions:


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