Weekly Update - March 3, 2023
Strive Center for Autism
NO THERAPY NEXT FRIDAY, MARCH 10
Just a friendly reminder that there is no therapy next Friday, March 10th, due to a Professional Development day for our staff. Therapy will resume on Monday, March 13th.
With many schools utilizing early release lately due to road conditions/weather, we just wanted to clarify that we generally won't follow those early releases. We completely respect your individual choice to pick your child up early if you are concerned about road conditions, but generally, if we are open, we will do our best to stay open all day. If you ever need to pick up early, please call the center at 810-344-8082, ext. 1 for Brighton, ext. 2 for Burton and we can have your child ready when you arrive.
March is Pet Month
The theme for March is pets! We will be talking, singing, and reading about pets and playing with pretend pets during our play times. We'll also have some fun opportunities for staff to bring their pets in or to share videos of their pets. If your family has a pet who is great with children and you'd like to bring him in, please reach out to your BCBA. Look for more info coming home regarding specific pet visits and parent permission.
Get to know Erin!
For 2023, instead of just sharing our background info, we are going to share some of our team's answers to a recent survey. We asked staff what they enjoy most about their jobs overall, what they like to teach the most, and what they would tell other people considering working here. We'll share answers from a new staff member each week!
This week, we'll hear from Erin, one of our amazing RBTs and our Office Manager in Burton.
When we asked Erin what her favorite part of working for Strive is, she answered, "How much we all care about each other. We are a tight knit group who supports and encourages. The company as a whole also cares about its staff as people who have unique needs not just as employee X."
What is Erin's favorite part of her job? "I love seeing the unique personalities of our kids. Each one makes me smile in their own way and I love to see all of the kids learn and grow."
What is Erin's proudest moment at Strive so far? "When I taught a child to tact (label) Papa and then when I took him out to the lobby he actually said papa to his grandpa. Grandpa was so happy he had him do it a few times."
** See below for more information on the term "tact" that Erin mentioned above.
Grants Available for Families
Many families may not be aware that there are grants available to help offset costs of treatment or other necessities for children with Autism and other needs. We've had several families successfully apply for a grant through United Healthcare Children's Foundation. You do not need to have United Healthcare insurance to apply.
Click here for more information on this grant from United Healthcare Children's Foundation.
Another resource for a wider variety of grants is provided below, and we received this information from the Autism Alliance of Michigan when we inquired about more resources for families.
Click here for a longer list of grants that might benefit families.
Many times these grants can be used to pay your copay or coinsurance, lessening the burden on families who have children enrolled in therapy programs like ours.
ABA Term of the Week
One addition to our newsletter this year will be some definitions of terms we use most often in ABA. We know we use a lot of lingo and we want to help families understand it better. All of these terms will also be on our website in a glossary, so you can check them out anytime.
This week we'll have two terms: Verbal Operants and Tact.
B.F. Skinner published a book titled Verbal Behavior in 1957. This book provided classification for language and a description of how it is developed, which included a listing of what Skinner called verbal operants.
The verbal operant is the unit of analysis of verbal behavior, and it defines the functional relation between a type of responding and motivating variables, discriminative stimuli, and consequences.
That is a fancy way to say that Skinner liked to look at language by the FUNCTION of the word, not by the form.
For example, a child might say the word, "cookie" for a variety of reasons:
- He might say "cookie" when he sees one (labeling what he sees)
- He might say "cookie" when you ask "What's your favorite treat?"
- He might say "cookie" when he wants to eat a cookie, or wants you to give him a cookie
- He might say "cookie" after you say "cookie" (repeating you)
As parents, we often say our child "knows" a new word when hear him say it, no matter what the circumstances - that would be defining language by its form. If my son says "cookie" one day when he sees one, I may say he knows that word now.
With typically developing children, they quickly begin using their new word under a wide variety of circumstances, with very little specific teaching. With children diagnosed with Autism, they don't automatically begin using a new word under different circumstances. Often they need specific teaching to use that word under all the different circumstances where they might need it.
As behavior analysts who utilize Skinner's analysis of verbal behavior, we look at all the different circumstances where the child uses the word "cookie," like we listed above. And we focus on teaching all those different uses or functions of the word cookie, not just on the form of the word or on being able to physically say the word.
It's this attention to detail that allows us to help your children learn so many different ways to use language, and it's a huge part of what we do daily.
All of that brings us to our second term of the week, tact.
Tact is one of the verbal operants that Skinner defined in his book Verbal Behavior.
In simple terms, a tact is labeling something, whether it be an item, a picture, or even an action.
So in Erin's example above of her proudest moment, she had a picture of a child's grandpa and she worked with him each day, showing him the picture and asking, "Who is it?" and teaching the child to say "Papa." And while that's a great activity, the best part is clearly when he sees his papa and calls him by name (as any proud papa can tell you!)
Vacations and other time off
We'll just keep this link right here, for your convenience. For any absences scheduled in advance, please use this form to report the dates. You may take an entire day or half day, depending on your needs.
Here are some additional dates that the centers will be closed:
Friday, March 10th BOTH CENTERS CLOSED for staff Professional Development day
If your family is planning a longer absence around one of those dates, or at another time, please let us know as soon as you are able!