Specialized Autism Related Services

At The Wellness Centre we are very proud to offer a comprehensive array of services specifically for children, teens and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families. We believe that every child deserves an opportunity to reach their fullest potential and to pursue a life of independence and purpose.

Early Identification & Diagnostic Services

Early identification and access to evidenced based intervention is critical if your child is show- ing signs of developmental delay. The Wellness Centre was the first on-island centre for autism assessment and diagnosis. Our team of psychologists are fully trained and qualified to administer a range of assessment measures considered the gold standard in autism assess- ment and diagnosis. An assessment for autism begins with a conversation with one of our psychologists to discuss your concerns. The assessment process involves gathering information from parents, caregivers, teachers, other medical professionals and other experts in the area of child development, including speech and language and occupational therapists as well as time spent interacting and observing your child in a natural social and play environment. A final assessment report will pro- vide you with a clear picture of your child’s strengths and needs, along with a road map leading forward to ensure he/she reaches their fullest potential.

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Applied Behaviour Anaylsis

The Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) approach teaches communication, reading, academics, social skills, reasoning, problem solving and adaptive living skills. ABA is especially useful in teaching behaviours to children with autism or other behavioural disorder who may otherwise not "pick up" these behaviours on their own as other children would.

ABA uses careful behavioural observation and positive reinforcement or prompting to teach each step of a behaviour. A child’s behaviour is reinforced with a reward when he or she performs each of the steps correctly. Undesirable behaviours, or those that interfere with learning and social skills, are watched closely. The goal is to determine what happens to trigger a behaviour, and what happens after that behaviour that seems to reinforce, and thus maintain, the behaviour. The idea is to remove these triggers and reinforcers from the child’s environment.

ABA is considered by many researchers & clinicians to be the most effective evidence-based therapeutic approach demonstrated thus far for children with autism. The U.S. Surgeon General states that 30 years of research on the ABA approach have shown very positive outcomes when ABA is used as an early intervention tool for autism. This research includes several landmark studies showing that about 50% of children with autism who were treated with the ABA approach before the age of four had significant increases in IQ, verbal ability, and/or social functioning. Even those who did not show these dramatic improvements had significantly better improvement than those who did not receive ABA therapy.

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Early Start Denver Model (ESDM)

The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) is an early intervention for children with developmental delay, ages 12 to 48 months. The program encompasses a developmental curriculum that defines social, communication, cognitive, self-help, motor and play skills. It is not tied to a specific delivery setting, but can be delivered in a clinic, home, playground or preschool setting. ESDM integrates a relationship- focused developmental model with the well- validated teaching practices of ABA. We are very proud to be the first clinic in the Cay- man Islands and the Caribbean to have a team of Certified ESDM Therapists.

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Supportive Outreach Services (SOS)

Supportive Outreach Services (SOS) are offered in the community to support parents and teachers to develop the skills and confidence needed to effec- tively teach and manage behaviour in the home and school environment. This practical hands on approach uses the science of behaviour analysis to help parents and teachers improve behaviour so that learning and independence can emerge.

These services are individualized and often contain: functional behaviour assessment, observations, formation of a positive behaviour support plan, parent/staff training and support, in home/school support during the implementation of strategies out- lined in the support plan, and will also include maintenance and follow up to ensure success.

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Life Skills (Independent/Adaptive Skills)

Life Skills, or adaptive and independent living skills are vitally important for children, adolescents and adults with autism. These are the skills that allow an individual to live as independently as possible with- in their community. Life skills include a wide range of skills; and may include social & emotional skills, money & time management, cooking & shopping, public transportation, employment training, and independent self-care, personal hygiene and sexual health. Adaptive living skills are taught using standard measure of functioning and progress is carefully tracked. Target skills are determined through consultation with parents and the individual. Skills can be taught in groups or one-to-one.

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Family Support & Transition Planning

Having a child or family member with autism can feel overwhelming. Parents often fail to pri- oritize their own needs, as an important part of their child’s intervention plan. At The Wellness Centre we offer a range of family support ser- vices, including family therapy, parent educa- tion, consultation and training. As children grow it is critical that services take into account their wishes, goals and social needs. Families of per- sons 16+ are encouraged to participate in Person Centred Planning (PCP), an approach to transition planning that places the individual at the centre of decision making and gaol setting.

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Getting started & putting it all together

Our staff are committed to helping your family navigate what often seems like an overwhelming processes. We work in partnership with parents, pediatricians & teachers to determine which ser- vices are most appropriate and which goals are the highest priority. Contact Sloane Pharr at spharr@wellnesscentre.ky to schedule a free 30 minute consultation meeting to learn more.

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