BY YOUR SIDE - Autism Therapy Services is a multidisciplinary provider to the Autism community with a focus in 2 key environments: In Center and In Home.
ABA is an evidence-based treatment approach of recognizing and altering environmental contingencies to improve a socially significant behavior. Our ABA program has two branches: skill-building and behavior support using a language-based approach to address both areas.
Occupational therapy focuses on teaching functional skills to individuals so they can effectively participate in activities of their daily life (home, school, work, play). Services provided by Occupational therapists with expertise in the areas of sensory integration, technical execution of writing, self regulation and autism specific modifications of environments.
Speech-Language Therapy focuses on expanding the client’s repertoire of communication in the areas of speech production (articulation), understanding of language (receptive language), language output (expressive language) and social use of language (pragmatics).
These services are provided by a speech language pathologist or occupational therapist. Feeding therapy is appropriate for individuals who have a restricted repertoire of preferred foods.
The objective of the group session is to learn to actively interact with peers to gain new information, share a common focus (both abstract and concrete) and express ideas to engage in meaningful interactions and develop relationships.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is a valuable tool to provide individuals with multiple forms of communication for expressing basic needs and engaging in social interactions. Our Speech-Language Pathologists have the expertise to work with clients and their families to identify, evaluate, and train individuals on a variety of forms of alternative communication.
BYS Academy prepares your child for the school environment through social interaction, structure and basic learning skills. It’s a great way to incorporate a customized school program into a child’s therapy plan if you feel that school readiness is a concern. Our program follows a classroom setting and structure, but still allows 1:1 support with an individualized program that is managed by a BCBA with collaborative efforts from the Speech and Occupational Therapy teams.
Through a highly-specialized assessment process in our Morton Grove center, we can identify your child’s areas of deficit and ability, obtain the proper diagnosis, and recommend the most effective intervention plan. This evaluation uses the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule - Second Edition (ADOS-2), which is a “gold standard” screening tool to observe the diagnostic behaviors of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Inside the Centers
This room is set up like a typical dine-in kitchen. It provides a natural setting to practice and learn a variety of skills including sharing meals, practicing appropriate mealtime behaviors, improving feeding skills, and expanding food repertoires. A snack shared at the table creates the natural activity of conversing during a meal which allows practice of asking/answering questions, maintaining a topic, changing topics, and listening to others. Cooking activities allow for natural learning of the following skills: following directions, sequencing, and exploring a variety of sensory input through touch, smell, and sight. Food is never used as a motivator but rather a natural learning activity.
This room is designed to be a rich environment of play and language, especially for our younger friends. Play is critical for building functional and social language skills. Everything in the room is accessible to the child providing them the opportunity to independently explore and engage with a variety of toys and activities. The items within the room allow children to learn both functional and imaginative play skills. This provides foundational skills for basic learning and social interactions. This room is a large space allowing multiple children to share the space and encouraging parallel play, peer modeling, and interactive play.
The playground is the centerpiece of BYS providing a highly motivating environment to explore and engage with peers and adults. This area provides opportunities for sensory regulation, social engagement, vocabulary building, motor coordination, interactive play, and many other skill building activities. Although visually appealing, the playground can often be an intimidating and daunting place for an individual with autism. The chaotic and unpredictable nature of the playground combined with equipment (which requires coordination), may often cause a child to retreat to corners of the playground or preferred equipment. The playground area was created to help individuals learn a variety of skills allowing them to actively participate and generalize these skills to all playground settings.
This room is designed for art projects and wet/messy sensory activities. Art provides the opportunity to experience language through the sensory system. It provides relevant activities to learn basic concepts (color, shapes, sizes, and texture) for our younger friends and the chance to explore self-expression for our older friends. Sensory integration activities are meaningful and appropriate when experienced during art activities. Productive leisure skills can be one of the greatest challenges for individuals with autism. Finding and maintaining productive leisure skills through art allows opportunities for individuals to explore, create, and express themselves creating a bridge for communication and interaction.
This room was designed to be free of distracting stimuli to allow for direct instruction. Typically developing children learn many basic concepts and skills incidentally, by simply being exposed to the activity. One of the distinct features of the autism spectrum is the lack of incidental learning and the need for direct instruction. The study rooms eliminate distraction and are dedicated to direct instruction. A second distinct feature of autism is the difficulty generalizing learned information outside of the teaching activity and room. It is for this reason that both learning environments, study rooms and “home” rooms, are included in the design of the center. There are two study rooms, one for younger/preschool aged clients which includes a corner for learning circle time. A second for school aged children that incorporates an independent work station modeled after the principles of TEACCH of the University of North Carolina.
Teen Rec Room
This room was created to be a comfortable place for our tweens and teens to enjoy conversation and a variety of games and activities. Participating in age and socially appropriate games such as board games and card games require critical thinking, problem solving, awareness, and the ability to predict other’s actions. It is crucial to learn and understand social language and activities in order to create appropriate and meaningful interactions with peers and siblings. Most social activities require individuals to process multiple pieces of sensory information and multi-task between conversation, attending to an activity within the game, filtering unnecessary information, and making verbal and emotional contributions to the group. Learning these skills in the safe and relevant environment of the therapeutic setting allows individuals to build skills and confidence.
This is an open area designed for large motor movements. A ball pit, crash pit, and a variety of swings are the centerpieces of this room. There is plenty of room left for tunnels, walking paths, obstacle courses, and scooters. The sensory system is a multi-dimensional system requiring a variety of activities to meet its needs. This multi-purpose room was created to meet varying needs. The gym is not only used for occupational therapy but it is available for all learning activities. A variety of language learning and social activities are experienced within this room and it allows individuals to combine language learning and motor movement. Research shows that involving the whole brain (movement and language centers) improves the performance of language learning activities.
This room provides a space for puzzles, legos, and other building projects to be enjoyed without being disturbed. Puzzles and construction activities require an individual to activate multiple parts of the brain and coordinate a variety of skills to reach a single outcome. The sensory system, language, fine motor skills, spatial relationships, deductive reasoning, problem solving, and hand-eye coordination must work in unison to create final product. Although puzzles are typically thought to be an independent activity, large floor puzzles and building projects create opportunities for cooperative play, compromise, and being part of a group. Completion of puzzles and building projects, whether done individually or as part of a group, teach self-confidence, maintaining attention, and emotional regulation (i.e.: patience and perseverance).
This room is set up to resemble a typical family room within a home; it is informal and serves multiple purposes. The family room serves both social and recreational needs as it provides opportunities for playing games, book sharing, storytelling, video games, conversation, and a variety of other interactive activities. The set up allows for individuals to learn to maintain and focus attention while in a less structured environment (i.e.: sitting on a couch or cozy chair rather than a desk). Within the family room, younger children can learn the basic principles of game playing in a relevant setting whereas for older children it provides a second setting to generalize learned skills.
This room is a small room with minimal lighting and reduced noise. It is a safe place for client’s to temporarily escape from the demands of a learning environment while receiving the appropriate sensory input relevant to their needs (i.e.: a weighted blanket, vibrating pillow, sound machine, etc.). The quiet room is always the client’s choice that allows for a break from learning in a non-stimulating environment in order to improve behavior and performance.