PEERS Program

Port View Preparatory® is different than other special needs schools because it affords its K-22 students unparalleled opportunities to excel in a nurturing and safe environment with respect and dignity. Our professional, trained and credentialed staff partners with parents and caregivers to determine what is best for your student with individualized learning techniques.

Port View Preparatory® Principal and Co-Founder Dr. Melaura Erickson-Tomaino received her Ph.D. in applied developmental psychology and also earned a psychology degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). During Dr. Tomaino’s academic and professional journey starting at UCLA, she became a believer in the Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS), originally created at UCLA by Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson, Founder and Director of the UCLA PEERS® Clinic.

"My husband was just telling me how much he has seen an improvement in Wendy's behavior. She doesn't seem angry with herself, she seems content with herself, kind of like comfortable with herself, like she's going to be ok knowing she has everyone's support.  She will have difficult days I'm sure but hopefully less aggressive but she will know she will always have  our love, I am cherishing these days and more to come, thanks to you and all the staff."
- Rosa Soto
"My son had been to different Non Public Schools but nothing compared to Port View. We finally found the right and great  school for him. We feel at peace now sending him to school knowing that people will take care of him and able to handle his behaviors. We are so grateful because of this."
- Veronica Barin

Establishing and Nurturing Relationships

“PEERS is a manualized, social skills training intervention for youth with social challenges. It has a strong evidence-base for use with adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorder, but is also appropriate for preschoolers, adolescents, and young adults with ADHD, anxiety, depression, and other socioemotional problems.”

As an advocate, practitioner and certified trainer in PEERS, Dr. Tomaino leads evidence-based social skills curriculum for Port View Preparatory® students. Because socialization is an integral part of human relations, PEERS helps K-22 years of age students navigate the often complex and intricate ways of relating to others. The average child and adolescent has enough challenges establishing relationships and the unique PEERS program supports and encourages students to develop, refine and nurture meaningful relationships and friendships.

This practical social skills program is especially important for students with autism spectrum disorder and other disabilities that affect and/or hinder relating to others socially. PEERS is unique from similar programs because it:

  • Is evidence-based
  • Includes parents
  • Teaches ecologically valid social skills
  • Tailors teaching methods to shared social skills deficits*

Throughout life’s many stages, establishing meaningful social bonds cannot be overstated. Having just one or two close relationships and/or friendships outside of immediate family is predictive of later adjustment and affects individuals in the following ways:

  • Can buffer the impact of stressful life events
  • Correlates positively with self-esteem
  • Increases independence
  • Correlates negatively with depression and anxiety*

Dr. Tomaino and Port View Preparatory®’s dedicated staff are strong believers in helping to nurture each student wholly. This includes specialized academic instruction, applied behavioral analysis, critical therapies, vocational and career assistance and helping each student develop the needed social skills and relationships to succeed and thrive in school and in life.

For more information about Port View Preparatory®’s Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS), please contact Dr. Melaura Erickson-Tomaino at 714-463-6392.