SAN ANTONIO — There is a one-of-a-kind therapy option in town to help children and adults bridge gaps in communication.
Helping kids face social challenges in schools is Stephanie Pepi's life's work, now she has taken it a step further and opened her own outreach group called the Starfish Social Club. Tuesday was the opening day.
"All of our kids struggle with perspective taking, being able to understand how people think, how they feel,” Pepi said.
Students are grouped by age, awareness level, and specific social learning challenges. Activities help them understand situational contexts. While several of Pepi's students have mental conditions like Autism or ADHD, many don't yet feel the same pressure in social situations.
"Several of my kids are not diagnosed with any of those disabilities, they kind of just stand out. Often they're not kids who have behavior issues in school, but they're kids that don't get invited to birthday parties. A lot of times it's kids who are gifted who are missing that social component,” she said.
Pepi said a lot of her students can't attend regular Summer camps and have trouble graduating to the next grade level.
"No matter what they're never by themselves, they're always around other kids,” she said.
Since socialization can't be avoided, her passion is fueled by the power to help. The Starfish Social Club will begin having night classes this August and will continue throughout the school year.