By Hailey Guidi, MA, BCBA
The Columbus Center opened one year ago on June 23, 2014 to give ABA services to families in Bartholomew County. By opening a brick and mortar center in the Columbus area, we were able to transition several in-home clients and other families commuting to the Greenwood center to a local, center-based therapy model. Since then, we have grown to serving 16 clients in the center, in full-day, half-day, and after hours intensive services.
Maximize Those Who Struggle
When you enter the Columbus center, you are welcomed by a warm, inviting atmosphere that feels like home. The space is designed specifically for the clients we serve, with an open area that facilitates working on goals in an environment that feels very natural and familiar for the clients. Our clients are predominately in the early childhood age range, and having a natural environment to provide intensive services is instrumental in helping them learn to generalize what they are learning to the home and community. We work on a variety of programs, from teaching early learners their first signs and words to appropriately interacting with peers and adults; in addition, we are constantly teaching learners vital life skills that will help to increase their independence and overall functioning, such as potty training, food programs, hair-cutting, washing hands, brushing teeth and riding a bike…the list goes on and on! With the small environment that the Columbus center offers, our clients have been very successful in developing friendships with their peers at the center and learning more appropriate functional language, social behavior and play skills that will help them when they transition to a classroom setting.
Embrace Those Who Love
In addition to the small, warm environment benefiting our clients, it has also been a great advantage to their families. Many parents have developed friendships with other Cornerstone parents, thus creating a bond over common interests and providing support from others who can relate to their lives. Parent Liaison Sheila Carney has started a parent support group for Columbus that has met to discuss challenges and successes with one another. We also offer regular parent training and collaboration with clinical staff to afford families opportunities to learn about ABA and their child’s programs and how they can implement learned skills and behavior intervention plans at home.
Our staff has become like family as well, striving to keep each other motivated and morale high. In this line of work, teamwork is key to the success of our clients and staff. We create and provide regular staff training to keep our skills sharp and to continue to fine tune our knowledge of ABA. Team builders are also a staple of our weekly team meetings, and staff also enjoys regular social events in the community. We have had a great first year in Columbus, and we are looking forward to many more!
June 16, 2015, Morgan McClellan