Sarah’s Smile, KidsPeace’s summer group therapy program for youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders, returns in 2022 – and for the first time in nearly a decade it will be a full-day program.
The expanded hours will provide participants with additional opportunities to learn and practice social, communication and coping skills and, along with early drop-off and late pickup options, offer families a more reasonable treatment schedule.
Sarah’s Smile serves children and young people aged 6-21 who have an ASD diagnosis. The program is offered at KidsPeace’s Broadway Campus in Fountain Hill and Berks Campus in Temple, PA, and is part of the organization’s Intensive Behavioral Health Services (IBHS) group therapy programs.
KidsPeace IBHS Director Robert Harvey notes that the program is designed to help each child to grow their skills at their own pace.
“The treatment program in Sarah’s Smile is based entirely on input from the participants and their caregivers, as well as our staff’s observation of their interactions with peers,” he said. “We are dedicated to providing a fun and immersive environment where each client has the opportunity to learn and practice the skills they need to be successful socially and to be ready for the experiences in life they most look forward to.”
Harvey also noted that with along with the expanded hours, Sarah’s Smile will be joined by KidsPeace’s afterschool ASD group programing in a “year-round” designation: “That means children will be able to transition seamlessly from one program to the next, without the need for separate registration and discharge. This will save families additional paperwork, evaluations and waiting to hear if they got into the next program.”
Also new in 2022 – a quiet room near the Broadway Campus’s gym. The “Quiet Space” provides clients with a space to go when they are overstimulated, need a quiet place to calm down, and/or need to let out a bit of extra energy. The room features large yoga balls, a small crash pad, a swing frame and detachable hammock swing, and light up/stackable cubes that can change colors. The space also has pretend/imaginary play items and areas where staff can work on play skills with clients or engage them in a preferred play activity to decompress. The recreational equipment was obtained with funds from grants from the Leona Gruber Trust and the Wawa Foundation.
Sarah’s Smile begins July 11, and runs from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For referrals, more information about the program, or inquiries about employment opportunities, call 610-799-8317.