What Is HI-STEP®?


HI-STEP® is a 5-week day program focusing on children’s social skills, problem-solving skills & emotional-behavioral skills through group training, individual attention, sports & recreational activities, creative arts, & academic-related activities. With locations in Pennington, Scotch Plains & Marlton, HI-STEP® is designed for children with social skills difficulties regardless of diagnosis. Many children attend as part of their Extended School Year (ESY) program, paid for by their school district.

View Our HI-STEP Promo Video

Who Is This For?

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 Asperger’s Syndrome, High Functioning Autism, 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®. 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.

What Will My Child Do?

The daily schedule includes social skills and problem-solving training, sports and recreational activities, creative arts 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, drum circle, animal show, musicians, carnival games, etc.

Why Choose The HI-STEP® Summer Social Skills Program?

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; an excellent opportunity for learning, fun, and friendship-making.

How Do I Get Started?

  1. Fill out the Application Form on this page.
  2. Download the HI-STEP® Screening Form and follow instructions.

Other Important Information You Should Know

  • 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.

Registration is now closed. Join us in 2018!

Follow us on Facebook to stay up-to-date on our HI-STEP Summer Social Skills Program.

Follow HI-STEP On Facebook

Important Downloads

Interested in HI-STEP®? Download these resources to learn more and get started.

Your Child Will Be Taught How To

  • Make Friends
  • Take Perspectives
  • Communicate Feelings
  • Recognize Impulses
  • Solve Problems
  • Solve Problems
  • Give (and Receive) Compliments
  • Deal with Teasing
  • Identify Anger Triggers
  • Manage Anger
  • Anticipate Consequences
  • Improve Telephone Communication
  • Think Critically
  • Think Abstractly
  • Develop Inferential Thinking

Our HI-STEP Locations

Coles Elementary School

Scotch Plains, New Jersey

Program Director: Rory Panter, Psy.D., Licensed Psychologist (NJ#4904)

Get Directions

Stony Brook Elementary School

Pennington, North Jersey

Director: Elena Zaklis, M.A., BCBA Board Certified Behavior Analyst

Get Directions

Beeler Elementary School

Marlton, South Jersey

Director: Amy Golden, M.S., BCBA Board Certified Behavior Analyst

Get Directions

Need Some Assistance?

One of our trained professionals will be happy to assist you with any questions.

Phone: 732.873.1212 | Email: histep@comcast.net