Building Community at the LITH Clinic
Kelly Kurk, BCBA
Here at BPI, we want to teach our learners skills that will help them be successful in all aspects of life. Most importantly, we want them to be happy.
That’s why we work hard for our learners and staff to be part of the local communities around us. We want our learners to become comfortable and successful while in the community, and for community members to be comfortable working with our learners. The goal is for our learners to participate in community events with family and peers.
Our learners are truly amazing and make all of our staff’s lives better. We want others to see how amazing they are and all that they have to offer.
Bringing the Community In
We started by inviting staff from Algonquin Public Library to read books to our learners.
Soon after, we invited Rock N Kids to our clinic to run a music and movement class. Rock N Kids runs music and movement classes for kids of all ages at their location in Crystal Lake and through various local park districts.
Both the library and Rock N Kids loved working with our learners and staff so much that they both asked if they could return monthly. They commented on how happy our learners were and how the atmosphere here at the clinic was calm and nurturing.
Our learners have grown more and more with each visit. They have shown improvement in tolerance of new people in the clinic, tolerance of schedule changes and new activities, following group directions, staying with the group, and waiting for their turn.
Each learner’s participation in these activities has also grown tremendously. The learners are also strengthening their play and social imitation skills by singing along and following along with dance moves. We hope to invite more community members to the clinic in the future!
A Community Within
Our clinic has also become a community in and of itself. It started with learners inviting other learners to their birthday parties. Everyone is always included.
Parents have reported several times how excited they were to see the learners applying the skills they learn while at ABA outside of the clinic. They were amazed to see the learners tolerate waiting, taking turns, engaging and playing with peers, finding ways to communicate with each other and most of all forming strong friendships outside of the clinic walls.
As a result, our learners’ families have become friends.
They all understand each others’ struggles, accept and help each other, and celebrate successes together. Imagine being able to bring your child to a friend’s house or party, and not having to worry about how others will react if your child has a tantrum. They have created a great support system for each other.
Here at BPI, we don’t just create communication, play, and socialization goals for our learners to focus on while in ABA therapy. We create, work on, and generalize these skills so our learners can be successful, not only with us but in all aspects of their lives.