In this newsletter, we’d like to take the time to address the parents of children on the autism spectrum.
Yes, the parents.
Parents are the ones who silently deal with the day-to-day struggles of nurturing and raising kids on the autism spectrum, booking endless doctor appointments and therapy sessions, and dealing with the challenges that come with teaching their child basic life skills and daily routines. What about the guidance they need to help their child navigate these volatile waters?
Here are three things you need to know:
- The little things don’t have to be so big
- You don’t need to go through this alone. We are here to help.
- Our mission at Lumiere is simple: Your Family Goals Are Our Goals.
Simple, daily tasks can become the source of heavy stress and anxiety for parents of kids on the spectrum, however it doesn’t have to be frustrating or difficult and most importantly, you don’t have to go through it alone! There are ways that Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy – combined with our comprehensive customized therapeutic strategy - can work to alleviate some of that stress.
Perhaps it’s getting your child to simply wear socks in the morning or getting him to brush his teeth. Or how about sharing a toy or trying new food? No task is too small for us to focus on. Using family-centered therapy like ABA helps kids and parents reach their goals – and that is OUR goal. Focusing on a multitude of skills across domains, such as independent living skills (i.e. getting dressed), using basic foundational skills (i.e. imitation, communication and socializing with peers) focus on decreasing rigidity and anxiety, and increasing appropriate behaviors. It is possible to make wonderful gains! This is done through a collaboration with parents, who learn the skills they need to help their child reach these not-so-small milestones, and kids, who are taught the skills they need to thrive in their community, school and home.
What about going outside the home? Whatever you want to teach your kids – like riding the train or going to the grocery store - we can help there, too. We call these community outings, our family adventures. By setting a fun precedent, these scheduled and supervised outings are designed to ease the stress and demands of taking your child outside the home.
Our therapeutic preschool program and Jr. kindergarten is offered Monday – Friday and focuses on a holistic learning approach in a therapeutic setting that helps prepare children for their transition into kindergarten. Since it’s also Autism Awareness Month, it’s important to note that our therapeutic preschool can also be an integral part of a well-rounded ABA treatment plan for kids up to first grade.
Every day your child will be exposed to language, literacy, math, science and adaptive self-care activities. These skills will be taught through books, music, movement, sensory exploration, problem solving, fine motor and visual spatial activities. To maximize learning, the program was designed to be custom-built, allowing the individual needs of each child to be met within our classroom setting.
Our program is aligned with the Illinois Learning State Standards; it blends academic and developmental milestones in a learning plan with therapeutic treatment plans. Both focus heavily on social skill development and communication to create a comprehensive program to prepare your child for school. We are also committed to Developmentally Appropriate Practices (DAP) through a play-based curriculum to support the needs of our students.
The program emphasizes the importance of social interactions with peers and includes comprehensive intervention led by therapists with a Master’s degree or Ph.D, who are skilled at developing your child’s social skills so they can have meaningful and impactful interactions with other children, both in and outside of the program. We focus on emotional intelligence; every child should understand and express their feelings.
Daily therapy services include:
- Speech and Language Therapy
- Developmental Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Social Work
- Behavior (BCBA/ABA) services
Our multidimensional program also places high emphasis on social skills development and peer interactions. Daily therapies will also be available based on your child’s needs. In addition, our clinic includes a sensory gym, where children can regulate their bodies before challenging themselves with academic tasks.
Our class size is designed for intimate instruction - up to six students - however, we also offer separate, private rooms to build on individual therapy sessions in a more private setting. Contact us to find out more information or to get your child enrolled.
Dr. Matt is a licensed clinical psychologist and neuropsychological trained in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness, developmental delays, and learning disorders. He has spent the last nine years providing psychotherapy, neuropsychological testing, and school advocacy for children, teenagers, and college students.
"When I was a child, I experienced severe separation anxiety for years. I also struggled with spelling; the words were wrong, even if I thought they were right. I felt bad, stupid and different,” he recalls.
“These two struggles made my personal, school, and family life much more difficult both emotionally and socially until I entered 8th grade and saw a therapist for the first time. I found her warm, guiding, and inviting. I also worked with another professional tutor who was patient, loving, and helped me with my spelling. One of them helped me conquer my anxiety, and the other helped me conquer my learning delay. They’re both a big part of the reason I achieved my doctorate; they provided solutions to me when I needed them so badly.
These experiences are the foundation of his passion for this work. His mission is to help others the way he was helped. As his website states: “I help angry, sad or anxious kids and adults. Helping you and your family turn despair into happiness, worry into confidence and anger into cooperation.”
“So now I offer solutions to you, your children, and your marriage in an honest effort to recreate what helped me."
Dr. Matt holds a psychology degree from Marquette University and a Master's and Doctorate from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology. www.drmattcanhelp.com
Autism Speaks Walk: Scheduled for May 12, 2018 at Soldier Field. Registration opens at 8:00am; event concludes at 1pm. Walk goal to be raised: $1M
AMC Theaters hosts Sensory Friendly Film showings
Brookfield Zoo Goes Blue for Autism
Saturday, April 17, 2018, 10am-6pm
Chuck E. Cheese offers Sensory Sensitive Sundays on the first Sunday of every month, two hours before the restaurant opens to the general public.
Pump it Up (Elmhurst, IL)
Offers Sensory Jump Night on the first Tuesday of every month.
Autism Eats Chicago: Various restaurants in Chicago and the suburbs offer autistic friendly dining opportunities that are closed to the general public. Tickets are required to be purchased in advance. The next event is scheduled for April 21st at Lou Malnati’s in Lincolnwood.