The Building Continues!
- Posted on 16th November 2017
- in Autism, Early Childhood Intervention, Early Identification, group programs, special needs children
- by Michelle McFarlin
What a year 2017 has been already! It has been a year of new beginnings, strengthening bonds, and building….building relationships, building skills, building community, and building programming. The result of all of this building, thanks to you all and our community partners, is more Building Blocks and Bridge Builders classes–and maybe even a new program!
The Building Blocks and Bridge Builders programs are the realization of a dream for me. Since I was 19 years old, a peppy little undergrad at SMU, my dream was to serve young children with challenges in social communication; it has been a career-long passion for me. Now, 22 years later (on my 41st birthday), I find myself talking to you fine people about how my team and I hope to serve you beginning in 2018.
The mission of Building Blocks is to provide the highest quality preschool programming possible within the mainstream environment for children 2-4 years old presenting with challenges in social communication, language, and play skills. I am passionate that these services should be provided within a typical preschool setting, as a part of a larger preschool community. Our students walk the hallways and share playgrounds with children attending mainstream preschool, and even sometimes have concurrent enrollment in both programs. Each student is assigned a graduate student in speech-language pathology to walk with him/her throughout the preschool day, never missing an opportunity to grow and to communicate. All curriculum we use is written by me (Michelle McFarlin) specifically for the children in the group, tailored to their specific strengths and weaknesses, and designed to facilitate understanding and functional use of core vocabulary for typical preschool themes. It is a priority for us that our students–first and foremost–feel safe, loved, and respected. Based upon the SCERTS model, consistent with developmental theory, and utilizing evidence based practices, we truly believe that we offer the premiere small group communication facilitation preschool services in Dallas.
Beginning in Spring 2018, we will offer 3 options for Building Blocks enrollment, with the aim of allowing our students other opportunities to attend other preschools or other services on alternate mornings:
- Monday-Wednesday-Friday Building Blocks at Incarnation Academy: This will be a group of new Building Blocks students who we hope will become a little cohort group who can grow and learn together through the SCC programs. We are accepting 2-3 year olds with emerging verbal abilities. SPACES STILL AVAILABLE
- Tuesday-Thursday Building Blocks at Highland Park Presbyterian Day School: This will be a group of returning Building Blocks students who have been growing together over the course of the year. We will consider enrollment for new verbal 3-4 year olds. NEARLY FULL
- Friday Building Blocks at Highland Park Presbyterian Day School: This group will be a mixture of new and returning verbal students ranging in age from 3-4 years old. NEARLY FULL
The mission of Bridge Builders is to help highly verbal children who continue to struggle with classroom and social skills to move to the next level. The majority of our students attend mainstream or full day school programming, and come to us in the afternoon to practice their emerging skills together. As with the Building Blocks program, we make it a priority that our students feel safe, loved, and respected. We believe that all behavior has meaning, and seek to replace less desirable behaviors with more desirable ones. All curriculum is consistent with Social Thinking philosophy and many themes are written by our team tailored to the individual children in the group to facilitate appropriate social skills for special occasions, holidays, or themes. We seek to give the students and their families tools to help them to understand what is expected in specific social situations, and how to be successful.
Beginning in 2018, we will offer Bridge Builders programming (Bridge Builders 1 and Bridge Builders 2) on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, at locations including Saint Michael Episcopal School and Highland Park Presbyterian Day School. Our existing groups aim to serve preschoolers (Bridge Builders 1) and kindergarten/1st grade students (Bridge Builders 2).
For more information, please check out this page, or contact us.
And we are still building!!!!!
In response to popular demand, we are currently working to develop a social skills group (tentatively titled Community Builders) for 7 year olds with the aim of facilitating appropriate play skills as well as appropriate classroom and community living skills. If interested, please contact me!