Reluctant Loners

Being left out can be tough. But peer-therapy groups are showing socially awkward youngsters how to fit in

Alexander was a voracious reader of history books, especially those about his favorite period, the Middle Ages. He played Brahms and Bach on the cello and was accomplished at tennis, swimming and skateboarding. In fact, it seemed the only thing the 10-year-old couldn't do easily was make friends. "I was really quiet; I didn't talk to classmates a lot; and it seemed as if a lot of kids were sort of pushing me away. I was very lonely," says Alexander, now 13. (Like other youngsters interviewed for this story, he asked that his real name not be used.) Seeking a way...

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