HI-STEP Summer Social Skills Camp Program

Basic Information

Focus: Social Skills Training - Fun, Learning, and Recreation
Owner: Dr. Michael Selbst & Dr. Steven Gordon
Director: Dr. Michael Selbst & Dr. Steven Gordon
Address: Multiple locations: Scotch Plains (northern New Jersey), Pennington (central New Jersey), Marlton (southern New Jersey)
Phone Number: 732-873-1212
Fax Number: 732-873-2584

Action Shots

HI-STEP Summer Social Skills Camp Program
HI-STEP Summer Social Skills Camp Program
HI-STEP Summer Social Skills Camp Program

* Click each thumbnail for a larger version.

Additional Information

Ages/Grades: 6-16
Camp Season: July - August

Air conditioned school and gymnasium with outdoor facilities, including playground and sports fields.

Gender: coed program
Camp Capacity: 64 children
Pricing: $700 per week for special education program with experienced staff

HI-STEP® Summer Social Skills Program: Helping Improve Social-skills Through Evidence-based Practices (ages 6-16): Founded in 2000, HI-STEP is a 6-week day program focusing on developing children’s social skills, social-emotional and problem-solving skills through group social skills training, individualized attention, sports and recreational activities, creative arts, and academic-related activities. Many children who receive special education services have attended this program as part of their I.E.P.’s extended school-year program. This should be discussed among the I.E.P. team. However, a diagnosis or classification is not necessary for enrollment in the program. Specific goals and objectives are targeted. There are social skills groups, role play, special events, sport skills development, creative arts, collaborative group activities, etc. The program emphasizes positive reinforcement, building self-esteem and generalization of skills.

Additional Information:

What skills do you plan to target? (the following is not all-inclusive)

  • Making Friends (eye contact, conversational skills, sharing, taking turns)
  • Perspective Taking, Taking another person’s point of view, Predicting Feelings
  • Communicating Feelings
  • Recognizing Impulses & Solving Problems
  • Giving/Receiving Compliments
  • Dealing with Putdowns/Teasing
  • Identifying Anger Triggers
  • Learning to Calm Down & Manage Anger
  • Keeping out of Fights
  • Anticipating Consequences of one’s actions
  • Telephone Conversation Skills
  • Critical Thinking, Abstract Reasoning, & Inferential Thinking

What else should my child learn?

  • How to interact appropriately with others in a variety of situations
  • Understand the importance of expectations and rules
  • How to better comply with limits set
  • How to follow rules for groups, classroom activities, sports, and other social situations
  • Basic sports skills, good sportsmanship, cooperation, teamwork
  • Ways to better tolerate and handle frustration
  • Making and answering telephone calls
  • Self-control in conflict situations

Special Activities

The daily schedule includes social skills and problem-solving training, sports and recreational activities, arts and crafts activities, lunch, snack, supervised play activities to promote friendship-building and learning to play various games appropriately, academic-related activities focusing on social skills, and exchanging points for prizes at the reward store.

There are also various special activities, which may include many of the following: Therapeutic Dogs, science presentation/activity, magician, visit from professional baseball player, animal show, musicians, carnival games, etc.

Why choose HI-STEP summer social skills program?

Positive responses on satisfaction surveys and anecdotal reports from parents and children


Positive feedback from school personnel


HI-STEP Summer Social Skills Program provides more frequent and more intensive social skills training compared to traditional summer programs and weekly summer social skills groups.


Generalization opportunities are provided through activities recommended for the home and community, parent training, and a summary of strategies staff members found to be effective.


Many children attend HI-STEP as their Extended School Year (ESY) program, funded by their respective school district.


Excellent opportunity for learning, fun, and friendship-making 

HI-STEP Staff utilize the new social skills curriculum, POWER-Solving®: Stepping Stones to Solving Life’s Everyday Social Problems. This is a new social skills curriculum designed to teach children and adolescents to become independent problem-solvers via a hands-on, user-friendly, positive-practice, interactive approach. Through the use of child- and adolescent-friendly, engaging materials, which rely heavily on visual cues and supports, participants gain the “tools” necessary to successfully problem-solve and enhance their social skills. 


For whom is HI-STEP appropriate?


Ages 6-16

HI-STEP is designed for children with difficulties displaying appropriate social skills and problem-solving skills.  The program commonly is appropriate for children with special education needs, including high-functioning Pervasive Developmental Disorders (e.g., Asperger's Syndrome, High Functioning Autism, PDD-NOS), Non-verbal Learning Disabilities, ADHD, Learning Disabilities, and symptoms of anxiety, shyness, obsessive-compulsiveness, etc.  A diagnosis or special education classification is not required for enrollment in HI-STEP. 

Other Important Information


* All children are carefully screened prior to acceptance.

* Children are grouped based upon age, strength and needs relative to the other children in the group, and based upon the determination of the best match with specific counselors.

*There are specific social problem-solving skills targeted for all students in the program.  We also teach children how to problem-solve so they can potentially handle any social situation.  Additionally, there are individual goals for each child (determined after the first several days of the program and based upon parent input). 

*Staff members rate each child's behavior and social skills after each activity every day and provide ongoing feedback to the children.  A daily scorecard and comments are sent home every day for parent feedback.

* 2 Parent Seminars, focusing on gaining compliance, providing reinforcement, reducing negative behaviors, promoting social skills, generalizing positive behaviors across settings, etc.