Grace Therapy Center understands that every child is unique. With that in mind, they address all levels of the autism spectrum with a particular emphasis on one-to-one Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy, an evidence-based intervention for individuals with learning differences.
Grace Therapy Center believes that a blend of individualized and collaborative programs will set each child up for success. In turn, they capture data for every behavior across many different domains – communication, academic literacy, problem solving and self-management. “We cater to whatever the child needs and teach them the skills that they’ll need to be successful, from talking all the way through complex language skills, social skills, behavior management etc.,” says Katie Jenkins, executive director of the center.
Grace Therapy Center accepts both full- and part-time students from as young as 15 months. It’s a critical and formative time for all children, but especially in the life of a child diagnosed with autism. “We take any skill and break it down into achievable steps,” Jenkins says. “Through the use of positive reinforcement, a step of the goal is achieved and then the child can move on to the next part until the entire skill is mastered.”
“ABA is extremely comprehensive so we work on a variety of skills, such as walking with the teacher, sitting at a table, playing with toys etc.,” she adds. They’ll even offer guidance and training while a child participates in everyday events, such as getting a haircut or going to the dentist.
Equally significant, Grace Therapy Center offers two pre-K options for easy transitioning to a school setting – all under the same roof. Grace Life Preschool is immediately adjacent to the center, while a second “in-house” Pre-K option is operated by the Grace Therapy Center staff.
There are some considerable benefits to the arrangement, as Grace Therapy Center staff can provide continuous support throughout the transition process. They’re also able to easily incorporate “peer models” – other students who demonstrate appropriate developmental skills – into the learning process. “We collaborate with the preschool and have access to a variety of peer models that they can play with on the playground, gym, or in their classroom.” Jenkins says.
Grace Therapy Center also collaborates extensively with speech and occupational therapists who work with the children and cooperate with the center’s staff to create an optimal learning experience. “We work together across different therapies to achieve more comprehensive goals for the children,” she adds.
Of course, anything a child learns at Grace Therapy Center becomes more effective and long-lasting when parents reinforce the behaviors at home. That’s why parent training is another critical component of the process. “When kids come here, or sometimes even before they start attending, we’ll provide detailed parent training on what we’re doing at the clinic, the basics of ABA therapy and discuss their home goals and struggles,” Jenkins says. “The parents are indeed a critical part of the process.”
Jenkins encourages parents of an autistic child to reach out to Grace Therapy Center. The facility can play an undeniably critical role in a child’s development when those needs are addressed early. For more information, visit gracetherapycenter.com.