Building independence in the community
It’s time to get FOCUSed! As the need for Westside’s services continues to grow, especially in ABA treatment, we are always making sure that we are expanding with it. Whether that be opening a new clinic or offering a new service, we just want to give our kids the best possible experiences that give them G.R.E.A.T. Outcomes. With that being said:
Westside is launching a new ABA treatment program: FOCUS
FOCUS (For Our Community Understanding and Success) is an ABA treatment daytime program built to enhance our clients’ community awareness, community involvement, life and social skills. The program was developed to provide the necessary skills to be successful and independent within the community, as well as among school-aged peers. The FOCUS program is a follow-up to Westside’s current daytime ABA programs — RISE and IGNITE, which help children prepare to go to school — and is meant to support older children who attend a traditional school environment during the day.
Supporting school-aged children with autism through an ABA treatment program
As a child begins to enter middle childhood and early adolescence, the importance of peer interaction along with the formation of a deeper sense of self-awareness begins to emerge. Whether these characteristics begin to appear at school, home, or other social interactions, the FOCUS ABA treatment program aims to target skills that aid in their strengthening and provide a safe outlet for each child to explore their emotional identification and expression through various activities.
- Bridging the gap between clients and community
Being introduced to the importance of having a role in the community is one of the primary goals of this ABA treatment program. Clients will be given the opportunity to speak with various community and public service professionals. The goal of these interactions is to provide an understanding of their roles in the community, build conversation skills and explore their own individual interests in careers and vocations. The Wheaton Clinic, where the FOCUS pilot program is being run, opened “Westies Café” and some of our kiddos helped take orders. Children may also have a chance to interview public servants.
- Building social skills and self awareness
Each session will begin with a question of the day that will aid in the transition from their normal ABA therapy to FOCUS. This will entail the practice of taking turns in conversation and interpreting nonverbal cues in social situations. Analyzing short films followed by a group discussion will be used to discuss and identify emotional contexts. Team building activities will be utilized to teach social skills and emphasize the need for teamwork in achieving common goals. Large scale games/charts are displayed in the clinic that show participation, as well as provide incentive prizes when reaching the “finish line.”
- Transitioning back to therapy from FOCUS
Helping clients understand the importance of, as well as how to recognize calming strategies, is beneficial in its ability to help regulate emotional responses. This has been proven to be effective during stress and transitioning back to baseline behavior. Clients will be given the choice of choosing the calming strategy that will allow for them to successfully transition back to their regular ABA therapy from this ABA treatment program.
Where and when is FOCUS conducted?
Programming is offered Monday-Thursday. FOCUS activities will be held once per hour, during the times of 3:00-7:00 p.m. Each FOCUS group will consist of 2-4 kids, depending on client availability. For children that receive other therapies after school, the FOCUS schedule can accommodate those times. The child will leave FOCUS for their therapy and return after.
There is a pilot program currently being offered in our Wheaton clinic. Beginning in Spring 2021, other clinics will begin offering the program as well. If you are interested in FOCUS at another clinic that does not yet offer the program, you can still sign up early by calling (815) 469-1500 to secure your spot in advance.
What does the program cost?
FOCUS is an ABA treatment program that is billed through commercial insurance. It is for children with autism who have ABA therapy benefits on their plan. While the cost is dependent on each plan’s own unique benefits (among other factors), you can expect your insurance to cover approximately 90-95% of the total costs of the program.
In general, the average cost of ABA therapy for a year of services usually ranges between $1,500-$3,000. It is critical to note that this price range is just an average representation of costs. Depending on your unique insurance plan, your costs could be above or below this amount for the year. Our team is able to verify your benefits and provide you an estimate of your out of pocket costs.
How do I get started?
If your child is already a Westside client, you can contact your child’s therapist or the front desk staff in your office about getting started with an ABA treatment program. If your child is not a current Westside client, you can contact our Family Support Team at (815) 469-1500 ext 1 or firstname.lastname@example.org and they will assist you in getting started at Westside. We have more than 10 clinics across the Chicago suburbs.