A need has been identified within the autism community- a need for more integrated services! When students see several therapists throughout a given week, often the therapies can become isolating on several levels:
1. Without therapist communication and interaction, only one skill or area is often targeted within a given session. This can lead to a lack of integration among therapies and limit student progress.
2. When students see a therapist in a 1:1 setting, they are not empowered to learn or practice appropriate social skills with others. It is clear that although many individuals with autism want to be social and have friends, this is a difficult skill for them, and one which must be practiced and often taught specifically.
3. Most therapies take place either in a child's home, or at a clinic/center. Although there are benefits to these designated settings, recent research suggests that environment enrichment programs have reduced autism symptoms in young boys.
Wouldn't it therefore make sense to create an integrated enrichment program focused on social skills for students with autism in an environmentally rich setting? Well, that is exactly what has been done by Jennie Trocchio Kirkland, Ph.D. and Erika Olmedo, MS, CCC-SLP, two professionals with nearly 25 years of combined experience working with students with ASD!
This social skills pilot program is designed to integrate environmental education, social skills, and speech/language into a single program where students are empowered to learn and develop as they have fun with friends at the beautiful Miami Beach Botanical Gardens.
Social Skills at the Garden will be hands-on, sensory based, and child-led; providing plenty of new and motivating experiences to promote development. For more information and to access the application, please click HERE so you can join the fun!