On April 3rd a proud and excited group of young people cut the ribbon at the entrance of The Arc of Greater Plymouth’s Autism Services’ beautiful new space at Archways Enterprises at 10 Cordage Park Circle in Plymouth. Program Director Sue O’Shea, Program Coordinator Katie Riordan and six eager young people on the autism spectrum were finally moved into their bright, multi-purposed and carefully designed space. Computer work stations and desks with privacy carrels, floors with texture options, classrooms, a space supplied with floor pillows and exercise bikes as well as quiet meeting rooms all in soothing color schemes provide the “home base” for the program.
Director Sue O’Shea, a Licensed Board Certified Behavior Analyst, BCBA, describes the space as a non-traditional approach to providing in-house and community-based activities that focus on developing executive functioning skills.
“This is not an extension of school,” she says, “but rather a focused effort to increase functional life skills, develop relationships, and become active members of the community.”
It is the goal of The Arc of Greater Plymouth’s Autism Services to promote independence and quality of life, using a careful blend of Applied Behavior Analysis and Positive Behavior Support Strategies. A variety of approaches that include small group, peer or 1:1 instruction, assistive technology, and behavioral strategies including; previewing, story boarding, behavioral momentum, reinforcement and more based on the specific needs of each young adult are all geared toward strengthening executive functioning skills.
Program Coordinator Katie Riordan is highly qualified to carry out these ambitious goals, having joined the autism community right out of college at the Northeast Arc. She spent six years as an Intensive Early Intervention Specialist in Boston, working with young children in homes, daycare centers and schools. For the past five years at the League School in Boston, Katie worked with the transition program services for 17-22 year olds, focusing on transitioning to adulthood.
The six young adults, along with their coordinator Katie and direct care staff Mike Morris , will be choosing a name for their new program soon.
The Arc of Greater Plymouth celebrates this new and challenging adventure and has high hopes for the enhanced quality of life and independence of all involved. Referrals are being accepted and can be made by contacting Director Sue O’Shea at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 508-732 -9292, ext. 148.
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