Brad Bezilla, Clinic Director for our Cedar Rapids Children’s Clinic, shares a special way they are helping children transition out of services:
“For many of the children receiving clinic-based services in Cedar Rapids it is inevitable that they develop strong bonds or friendships with their peers who also attend clinic. It is typical that when a child begins to receive services they are paired with a one-on-one staff member. These staff members help teach the children to navigate the social world including areas such as using effective communication, sharing with others, learning how to play, and participating in small group activities. As the child’s skills grow, they may reduce the number of hours in clinic in order to practice these skills in the community, quite often with neurotypical peers. Eventually children leave clinic-based services for less intensive ones and to attend school full time. Some might even start participating in Supported Community Living (SCL) services entirely which focuses on community skills such as shopping or self-care skills. However, they often remember those children who they spent so much time with while in clinic.
Recently, a group of children receiving individual SCL services requested the chance to see some of their old clinic friends. So, staff helped fulfill these wishes by assisting them in scheduling group activities every few weeks. It has been a success and they even have invited several children who are still receiving services in clinic to join them. The most recent adventure was to have dinner at Red Robin where the children sat together, ordered their own meals, conversed about what activities they were going to do over the holidays, and paid by themselves. Next activities may include bowling. Way to go!”