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RISE: Westside’s School-Readiness ABA Therapy Program for Kindergartners

You child has graduated from IGNITE. Now it is time to RISE to the next level. In IGNITE, your child with autism was given the skills that would allow them to function in a pre-school setting alongside children ages 2-6. 

What is my child going to get out of the RISE ABA Therapy program?

Now that you’ve RISEn to the next level, Westside’s RISE ABA therapy program is typically for children ages 5-8. To be in the RISE ABA therapy program, your child must have mastered all of the skills and goals in IGNITE. 

Your child also must still be receiving ABA therapy for autism at Westside. 

The curriculum and the tasks in RISE are more advanced than IGNITE. 

Similar to IGNITE, the program is structured to offer individual and group activities to each child. Also, like in the IGNITE ABA therapy program, RISE has a 1:1 setup so each child is able to master their own skills and follow their personal program. 

RISE puts a heavier emphasis on interacting with peers, following instructions and routines, and engaging in group and individual work. 

The children in RISE will sometimes assist the therapists in running the program. Since the RISE and IGNITE programs will be run at the same time and overlap with each other during circle time and other social activities, the children in RISE will act as good role models for the children in IGNITE. 

Children in the RISE program will still have the same basic expectations put on them. It is more advanced because instead of just sitting in their spot and holding onto their materials, they may help the therapist pass out materials to the children. 

There will also be an expectation that the children will eventually be able to have more natural communication and comment on the environment, such as commenting on the weather or other things around them. 

It does not matter where each kid’s skills fall, as they will be working on those social skills in their individual programs. The group has a general goal, but depending on the individual’s functioning level, age and skill deficits and skill gains, that is where the individual programming comes into play. 

The ABA therapy programs at Westside have a heavy emphasis on repetition and doing skilled program trials. That repetition also happens in the group setting. 

ABA therapy program IGNITE at Westside in Illinois

What is the RISE schedule? 

It runs at the same time as the IGNITE ABA therapy program. The program runs from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. with the morning session lasting from 9 a.m.-noon, followed by the afternoon session which runs noon-3 p.m. 

Session duration and group sizes may be smaller because of the pandemic.

RISE is run on weekdays and the schedule will likely vary by clinic. However, there are options for families that are in need of extended scheduling before the 9 a.m. start or after the 3 p.m. end. The schedule allows for flexibility in the number of days and sessions a child attends. 

Specific skills to be worked on in RISE

Your child will learn expressive communication skills, meaning they will be able to have a conversation, participate in appropriate small talk, descriptive language, etc. They will also learn appropriate social interaction skills. 

The group sizes of RISE allows for social interaction to take place, but are small enough where the children will not be overwhelmed. Having a program like RISE being conducted inside Westside clinics provides support for the benefits of in-clinic therapy vs. in-home.

In-home therapy may seem like an easier option, but the child will not have the same opportunity for socialization as he/she would in a clinic. 

Aside from building communication and social skills, children will also gain fine motor skills, such as cutting and writing. Children will also learn how to complete routines independently. 

Children will also focus on gaining social-emotional skills. 

With RISE, the hope is that children with autism master those skills individually and translate them into circle time, more advanced social activities, group lunchtime with peers, school readiness development: raising hands, getting in line and taking turns.

A child who struggles with sharing or taking turns may intensely be working on that in his or her individual time and then bring back to the group to continue mastering those skills. 

Being in a RISE ABA therapy program allows the children to interact with others who have similar skill sets. 

It is a comfortable environment for the child to practice and master their skills that they have deficits in. With RISE, if a child is struggling more with a certain skill, they can take advantage of specific therapies that Westside offers. 

If a child needs extra help with communication, they can have speech therapy added to their daily RISE schedule. Other services offered are: occupational, physical, feeding and counseling

What are the benefits of RISE?

RISE is the last of the school-readiness programs. A child who graduates from RISE will typically be ready to go into a typical first grade classroom. Similar to IGNITE, your child’s progress is tracked daily by our therapists and those notes will be relayed to you so you know when the time is coming that your child is nearing graduation. 

We understand that even when a child gets into the typical classroom setting that some challenges may still arise. That is why we have our FOCUS ABA therapy program, which is an after-school program to help with the children’s transition to the classroom. 

If you’re nearing the end of IGNITE, be sure to look into getting started with RISE to make sure your child has the best transition to school possible. With both programs being run together, your child can also make a seamless and natural transition into their new group. It just depends on getting their skills mastered. 

If you have any questions, be sure to talk to your therapist.