Social Skills Groups – Tuesdays Sept. 4-Dec. 18, 5:30-6:30pm

Social Skills Groups for students ages 5 to 18 years old

We currently accepting students for our FALL Social Skills groups. Students meet every Tuesday evening from 9/4/2018-12/18/2018 from 5:30pm to 6:30pm. 

How to Sign Up 

Complete the social skills inquiry form. 

About Social Skills Groups

Our Social Skills Groups are designed for students who need coaching in peer relationships and conversations. If your child is able to converse with others but may need prompting to initiate or respond to peers, he or she is our ideal participant.

During Social Skills Groups, we use the principles of Verbal Behavior and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). 

Each group session consists of fun social games and activities. However each activity includes learning opportunities that are specifically designed to focus on intensive instruction that supports peer-to-peer socialization. Intensive instruction is embedded into activities. And it is derived from evidence-based concepts of verbal behavior and behavior analysis. Moreover, intensive instruction focuses on developing the necessary skills needed to initiate with and respond to peers.

Each session is supervised by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). And the group conversations and verbal skills are facilitated by applied behavior therapists.

We have created 2 types of specialized social skills groups to best fit different student’s social needs. One group is a best fit for children who are conversational but require extra help and prompting to socialize. And the second group facilitates basic social skills for students who need more intensive instruction to interact with peers.

We are also developing a social skills class which will focus on more subtle issues such as bullying, personal space, perspective taking, etc. All classes will meet on Tuesdays from 5:30pm to 6:30pm. An interview with parents will help determine the best group for your child.

———

Cost: $300 for this Fall Session 9/4-12/18 Tuesdays 5:30-6:30 pm

———

 

Social Skills Group for older studentsSocial Skills Group for younger students

 

 

 

 

50 Faces of The Arc – Ronan

For the past four years, Ronan has been attending The Aurora School, (a year-round school for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities). His ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) Instructor, Ashley, describes Ronan as a an awesome, fun kid who’s also very loving,

“He’s always smiling and will come up and give you the biggest hug!”

exclaims Ashley.  Ashley goes on to say that the learning style at Aurora has left a huge impact on Ronan,

“Before coming here he couldn’t say much, but now he’s speaking words, and we can understand what he wants.”

Ronan is also learning how to use more verbs in his speech to convey what he needs, and will communicate with his instructors about what is bothering him instead of crying. Aurora’s unique program works for children like Ronan because they’re able to get the individual attention they need, Ashley explains,

“We genuinely care about our students and everyday we teach them appropriate skills they’ll use in their everyday life. We’re able to do all of this through ABA therapy, and I wish more people knew how our [Aurora’s] curriculum works.”

She goes on to say that because of the ABA therapy, and the dedication of the staff  Ronan is able to succeed,

“If he keeps learning at this rate, he’ll be unstoppable!”

50 Faces of The Arc – Katelyn

Katelyn was the first student to attend The Aurora School, a year-round school for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Her mom, the previous director of The Arc of Loudoun, started Aurora in 2003 along with all the other programs that are now part of The Arc. Katelyn was only eight years old when she first started attending Aurora and graduated this past August.

 

At Aurora, Katelyn has learned to become more accepting of changes in her environment. Her Program Director, Maureen, says,

“Before, she wanted to control everything in the environment. If she walked in a room, she wouldn’t like if the lights were turned on, or if other people were talking.”

Katelyn also wouldn’t like if things weren’t in their proper place, but can now tolerate if items have suddenly moved. Maureen states,

“If a notebook was always on the right side of her table and you moved it, she’d have to put it where exactly where it was before. She’s learning to ignore those changes now.”

Furthermore, Katelyn’s academic skills have also improved, she’s able to add and subtract double digits along with balancing a checkbook. Daniel, her ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) Instructor, also says her progress with communicating has gotten better,

“Before she had little to no communication. Now she’s clearer to understand when she speaks and is really good at answering ‘who,’ ‘what,’ and ‘where’ questions.”

 

Daniel says he enjoyed working with Katelyn because of her happy, outgoing, and friendly personality. He states,

“I like working with her because she challenges me and she’s taught me so much about myself. She’s also super fun and is always saying humorous things!”

 

After being asked why The Arc is so important for students like Katelyn, Daniel responds,

“We’re really the only school like this in this area. And without it [The Arc] a lot of things would fall apart. What we do for all the kids here is huge!”

50 Faces of The Arc – Katie

Katie has been working at The Aurora School, a year-round school for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, for the past 10 years. She began as an ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) instructor and is now the testing coordinator. She tests each of the students at Aurora so that they meet all of their required goals. Katie’s favorite part of her job is working with the students saying,

“I love the kids. I do. Since I have to prepare all the student’s individual tests, I get to know each of them really well.”

 

Working with all the students allows Katie to see the progress they’re making, which keeps her motivated and passionate about her job. She exclaims,

“It’s amazing to see the progress, and makes me want to come to work every day! We’re doing something good here [Aurora]. We’re literally changing lives. And not just the kids’ lives but their families’ as well.”

Through the different activities at Aurora, students are able to go on CBI (Community Based Instruction) trips, where they can practice social skills at the grocery store, restaurants, libraries, etc. Katie says,

“Because of CBI, parents are now able to take their kids to the mall or grocery store without a meltdown. They’re able to take them to out to eat for the first time. It’s made all the difference in the world in their lives.”

 

In addition to working as the testing coordinator at Aurora, Katie also volunteers every year at Paxton’s biggest fundraiser of the year: Shocktober. Katie has a starring role as Mawmaw Carver, one of the spooky line entertainment characters for the popular haunted attraction. She’s been a volunteer and an actor since the fundraiser began eight years ago. Katie says,

“To use my goofy skills [acting as Mawmaw Carver] to help raise that kind of money has been such an unbelievable opportunity.”

Even when she’s in character, Katie still manages to educate all the Shocktober attendees about the importance of the fundraiser stating,

“I tell people what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and where the money goes– and how it will go to good use.”

 

Katie is also pleased with all of the different ways that The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus helps the disability community saying,

“We have holiday parties and a Spring Festival, where children with disabilities who may not have the chance to see Santa or the Easter bunny, now get that opportunity. And it’s free and open to the entire community! We also have the Music at the Manor concerts, which is a great event for the community to come and hang out.”

 

In the future, Katie hopes to continue working at The Arc and help kids to the best of her ability saying,

“I feel good working here. I feel like my life means something. This place makes me feel like, ‘I make a difference.’ If I can get through to a student having a tough time, then I’ve done a good thing. It’s so worth it.”

50 Faces of The Arc- Jaquan and Owen

Since Jaquan has just graduated from The Aurora School, we thought we’d share his and Owen’s story as the next #50FacesofTheArc
 
Both boys have been attending the school for over six years, and were immediate best friends. Together, the boys love being active and enjoy participating in P.E. class where they play sports such as baseball and flag football. But their all-time favorite game to play is the card game, “War”, which they often play together.
 
Both boys are very creative. One of their ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) instructors, Britney, says Owen will write lyrics to his own songs, where he’ll sign them off with: “Written and Performed by Owen”. He’ll also constantly recite lines to DVDs and Youtube videos that he watches. Jaquan is just as self-expressive, Britney says,
“He’s super imaginative and a great storyteller. He’s always making up different stories about his favorite action figures.”
 
Owen and Jaquan’s friendship involves more than just playing games and sports with each other. Since attending Aurora, Owen has been working on his communication skills. His instructors are teaching him about different emotions, and how to appropriately react to situations when he’s frustrated. Instead of crying when he is upset or sad, Owen will often go to Jaquan. Jaquan is then able to comfort Owen with a hug and cheer him up!
 
Britney says she loves working with both boys, exclaiming,
“Their friendship is so awesome, and I love that I get to be a part of it!” She goes on to state that she enjoys working with Jaquan and Owen because they have such different perspectives on life, “Jaquan, in particular, will ask hypothetical questions all the time. It’s really cool to look at things in a different way, through their eyes. They really blow my mind sometimes.”
Britney’s only wish is that more people were able to experience what it’s like working with the boys and all the Aurora students, saying
“Watching their progress and growth is amazing.”
 
We are so proud of both Jaquan and Owen, and we can’t wait to see each of them thrive!