COLORADO SPRINGS – The new school year has arrived for many districts, but a local school is helping students with autism all year round. It’s called Firefly Autism South in Colorado Springs, located in Old Colorado.
The school recently expanded its efforts with a new therapy room which opened about two months ago. This is the school’s latest effort to help children who are on the spectrum.
“It’s good because we can work on a lot of social skills and things that we can’t really work on at home. So it’s really great,” said Mandy Rades, the principal of the school.
Since the Denver-based school expanded to Colorado Springs about two years ago, they mostly did home therapy with children and worked on things like brushing their teeth, washing their hands, and eating. .
Rades said instructors work with people ages 1 1/2 to 21 on communication skills and positive behaviors both inside and outside the classroom. It’s about helping people with autism reach their highest potential through Applied Behavior Analysis, also known as ABA.
“We work with our clients and try to reduce their behaviors such as physical assault, destruction of property, shouting,” said Rades. “So we are working to reduce these behaviors and give them functionally equivalent behaviors. If a customer yells because they want to access a cookie, we will teach them the proper way to request that element.”
Meanwhile, the new therapy room is equipped with sensory activities, a limited number of toys to prevent over-simulation, and everything is labeled to help kids adjust. The room has all the items educators need to help children.
“It’s just amazing that parents see the differences at home, they see the communication, they see less difficulty getting ready for school in the morning, they see better eating habits and grooming habits. are better, ”said Jessica Boguski, a program facilitator for the school.
Boguski said it was all about small victories and daily growth when working with children and families living with autism, and she believes her work is making a difference.
“Just seeing the changes that I have seen with one of my children who I have worked very closely with for a year and a half is amazing to see that my job is actually working,” said Boguski. “I can’t even describe it.”
During the pandemic, much of the work with children was done through telehealth. As COVID-19 restrictions began to ease, educators returned home, before finally opening the therapy room.
The school is open from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday to Friday and is open all year round. The school accepts the registration of new children. For more information on Firefly Autism South, click here.