Center-Based Services & Toddler Play Groups

The development of foundational language and play skills are critical milestones ideally met within the first years of a child’s life. Advances Learning Center’s center-based services, including Toddler Play Groups, offer a supportive environment where children can develop and foster these skills through interaction with same-aged peers while receiving support and oversight from our caring and knowledgeable staff.

Learn more ›

Social Skills Groups

Learning to make and keep friends is crucial in every child’s life. Social Skills Groups at Advances Learning Center provide direct instruction in functional interaction via Social Skills Games & Social Skills Activities presented in a safe and nurturing environment to develop the skills needed for strong and lasting friendships.

Learn more ›

Summer Programs

Intensive summer programs are an extension of our school year Social Skills Group Program. The summer social program is different from the school year Social Skills Group Program in many ways – call for details and to reserve a spot for your child.

Learn more ›

Comprehensive Social Skills Assessment

If you are concerned about your child’s social deficits but are not sure what to do, a good place to start is to complete a social skills assessment. Children’s academic skills are constantly tested so teachers know what their strengths and weaknesses are and whether or not additional supports are needed – why not test your child’s social skills as well?

Learn more ›

School Vacation Gap-Program

Held daily from 9:00-noon during school vacations, our gap-program is for toddler students ages 3-6 that have a social skill and/or language deficit. Students who attend our program may have diagnoses such as nonverbal learning disorder (NLD), variations of high-functioning autism spectrum disorders (ASD), Asperger’s, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), various learning disabilities, developmental delays, or communication disorders.

Learn more ›

Generalization Assessment

A generalization assessment is a valuation of a student’s generalization of newly-mastered skills from an Advanced social skills group to their school environment. A secondary purpose is to advise the student’s school-based team how the skill was taught here at ALC and how they might incorporate in the school environment.

Learn more ›

Parent Training ABA

We are happy to offer several different types of training for parents and families related to Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Parents and close family members are most often the best teachers since they know their children better than anyone and are with them day-in and day-out! We can help parents build upon their teaching skills by incorporating the principles of ABA in a way that they can replicate out of our learning center.

Learn more ›

In-home ABA Services

Our in-home 1:1 applied behavior analysis (ABA) consultation and instruction services are custom tailored to your child and family’s needs. ALC’s Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA); ABA specialists, will come to your home to help your family with the issues that are most important to you and your child; whether it is decreasing your child’s challenging behaviors, building your child’s language skills, or helping your them become more independent with a daily routine.

Learn more ›

In-Home Behavioral Services (IHBS) via CBHI

In-Home Behavioral Services is a Mass Health service provided through the Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI) services program. These In-Home Behavioral Services are provided in the home or in the child’s community. The focus is on training the family/parents to decrease challenging behaviors by teaching appropriate replacement behaviors.

Learn more ›


Center-based Services and Toddler Play Groups

Ages: 18-months to 6-years old | Hours: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

The development of foundational language and play skills are critical milestones ideally met within the first years of a child’s life. Advances Learning Center (ALC) offers Center-based 1:1 applied behavior analysis (ABA) services and Toddler Play Groups, both of which offer a supportive environment where children can develop and foster these, and other, skills.

Center-based services are provided at our Watertown MA learning center, where we supply all materials necessary for your child’s program and board certified behavioral analyst (BCBA) supervisors are on-site to provide close staff supervision and oversight of your child’s progress.  Having ABA sessions in our learning center can be ideal for a young child who learns best in an environment where distractions can be carefully controlled. One-on-one services are provided for toddlers and young children (18 months to 6 years of age) between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm.

ALC’s Toddler Play Groups are designed for children aged 18 months to 3 years, who may attend as part of their Center-based program, or as a stand-alone service.  Groups target verbal behavior milestones for children while they engage with same-aged peers and receive support from our caring and knowledgeable staff.  Advances Learning Center services children of all levels of ability, with and without identified diagnoses.  Our teacher-to-child ratio ensures individualized attention as ABA instructors facilitate the development of language and play skills including making requests, responding to others, associative and independent play skills.

Please see “Social Skills Groups” for information about our social skills groups for children and teens of all ages and “Home-Based Services” for information about receiving in-home ABA sessions.

 

For Center-based services and toddler playgroups, we accept private insurance, private pay, and school district funding.

For more information or submit an application for a toddler group, please email information@advancesonline.com or complete the Request Services form under “Contact Us.”


Social Skills Groups

social_skills_groupsLearning to make and keep friends is crucial in every child’s life. Social skills groups at Advances Learning Center (ALC) provide direct instruction through interaction via social skills activities and games giving your child the opportunity to practice these foundational skills in a safe nurturing environment, and a chance to develop the skills needed for strong and lasting friendships.

ALC offers social skills groups Tuesday through Saturday. Children are grouped into small “clubs” which meet for two hours every week for two 16-week sessions during the school year. See “summer socials” for information about our summer social group skills program. Groups include 2-5 students and two instructors. Our small group size ensures plenty of individual attention and helps facilitate the skills needed for the formation of close friendships

  • Eligible Students: Advances Learning Center has social groups for toddlers, children, and teens of all ages who would benefit from social instruction. Not all of our students have a diagnosis, but among those who do are children with Nonverbal Learning Disorder (LND), Aspergers, High-Functioning Autism, learning disabilities or communication disorders.
  • Teaching: Social group instruction at Advances is supportive, systematic, and data-driven. Our group leaders use only instructional methods shown to be effective by research. Whenever appropriate, instruction takes place within games and activities that mimic situations children will encounter in other environments (school, playdates, birthday parties). The Advances Comprehensive Social Skills Curriculum covers a wide range of skills, from the primary (interacting with toys appropriately, turn-taking) to the complex (perspective-taking, inferencing)
  • Progress: Data are taken on every objective, for every child, during every session. Data are graphed and analyzed to ensure that progress is being made. When the data show a lack of progress, teaching methods are changed immediately. Progress reports are sent to parents at the end of each 16-week session, but additional progress reports (including a report after the summer session) may be requested at other times.
  • Staff: Advances group leaders are dedicated and creative teachers who have extensive experience with children with special needs and have solid backgrounds in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Each group has at least one assistant, usually a graduate or undergraduate student in an educational or developmental field of study. Additionally, one-to-one assistance may be provided for an extra fee if a student is not ready for a 1:2 ratio. Group leaders have the supervision and support of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), who oversees teaching procedures and student progress.
  • Placement: At the intake appointment, each child is assessed, and appropriate objectives are determined and prioritized. Children are matched with peers who share similar objectives and have compatible skill levels. Each group works on 5-8 objectives that focus on the particular areas of need of those students.
  • Parent Communication: Parents are encouraged to be closely involved in their child’s program at Advances and are given weekly curriculum reports. These weekly reports also include a suggestion for an activity parents can do at home to encourage generalization of skills. At the end of the session each week, the group leader meets briefly with each parent for questions and updates. Additionally, parents may observe their child’s group or have another member of their educational team observe (requests must be made in advance). For less-intrusive observation, parents may request that a video of their child’s group be made for their (on-site) viewing.

 

For social skills groups, we accept private insurance and private pay.

For more information or submit an application for a toddler group, please email information@advancesonline.com or complete the Request Services form under “Contact Us.”


 summer_socialsIntensive Summer Program

For 5 weeks in the summer, Advances Learning Center offers intensive social and language instruction to children between the ages of 2 and 7. Families can opt for half-day or full day enrollment in one full day weeks during the summer.

  • Small group instruction (3-5 children) provides 3-6 hours of engaging group activity focused on social and language objectives.
  • A minimum of 2 trained ALC team members uses incidental teaching and other ABA methods to facilitate social interaction and promote opportunities for language within the group.
  • In addition to group activities, 1:1 language and social instruction will be provided daily as appropriate for each child, based upon assessment.
  • Instruction is overseen by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and implemented by trained ABA instructors and group leaders.
  • 1:1 aids are available for the entire program for children when needed.

Weeks Available In 2017:

July 24 – July 28
July 31 – Aug 4
Aug 7 – Aug 11
Aug 14 – Aug 18
Aug 21 – Aug 25

For our intensive summer social and language program, we accept private insurance and private pay.
For more information or to submit an application, please email information@advancesonline.com or fill out the Request Services form under “Contact Us.”


Vacation Gap Program

vacation_gap_programThe gap program is held daily from 9:00am-12:00 pm during school vacations in order to keep children socially engaged through targeted social skills instruction.

The program is appropriate for students ages 3-6 that have a social skill and/or language deficit.

Students who attend our program may have diagnoses such as NLD, Asperger’s, High-Functioning Autism, ADHD, learning disabilities, developmental delays or communication disorders. During the gap program, groups of 4-5 children spend 3 hours daily in exciting in-door group activities, with 2 trained staff to facilitate social interaction and create opportunities for language use and incidental instruction. In addition to the indoor camp/classroom activities, there is direct language and social instruction each day. Groups are overseen by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and run by trained ABA instructors. 1:1 aides are available upon request.

Learning to make and keep friends is crucial in every child’s life. Social skills groups at Advances Learning Center provide direct instruction in functional social skills, an opportunity to practice skills in a safe environment, and a chance to develop the skills needed for strong and lasting friendships.

Advances Learning Center offers social skills groups Tuesday through Saturday. Children are grouped into small “clubs” which meet for two hours every week for 2 16-week sessions during the school year. See “summer socials” for information about our summer social skills program. Groups include 2 to 5 students and 2 instructors. Our small group size ensures plenty of individual attention and helps facilitate the skills needed for the formation of close friendships

  • Eligible Students: Advances Learning Center has groups for toddlers, children, and teens of all ages who would benefit from social instruction. Not all of our students have a diagnosis, but among those who do are children with Non-verbal Learning Disorder, Aspergers, High-Functioning Autism, learning disabilities or communication disorders.
  • Teaching: Social instruction at Advances is supportive, systematic, and data-driven. Our group leaders use only instructional methods shown to be effective by research. Whenever appropriate, instruction takes place within games and activities that mimic situations children will encounter in other environments (school, play-dates, birthday parties). The Advances Comprehensive Social Skills Curriculum covers a wide range of skills, from the primary (interacting with toys appropriately, turn-taking) to the complex (perspective-taking, inferencing)
  • Progress: Data are taken on every objective, for every child, during every session. Data are graphed and analyzed to ensure that progress is being made. When the data show a lack of progress, teaching methods are changed immediately. Progress reports are sent to parents at the end of each 16-week session, but additional progress reports (including a report after the summer session) may be requested at other times.
  • Staff: Advances group leaders are dedicated and creative teachers who have extensive experience with children with special needs and have solid backgrounds in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Each group has at least one assistant, usually a graduate or undergraduate student in an educational or developmental field of study. Additionally, one-to-one assistance may be provided for an extra fee if a student is not ready for a 1:2 ratio. Group leaders have the supervision and support of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, who oversees teaching procedures and student progress.
  • Placement: At the intake appointment, each child is assessed and appropriate objectives are determined and prioritized. Children are matched with peers who share similar objectives and have compatible skill levels. Each group works on 5-8 objectives that focus on the particular areas of need of those students.
  • Parent Communication: Parents are encouraged to be closely involved in their child’s program at Advances and are given weekly curriculum reports. These weekly reports also include a suggestion for an activity parents can do at home to encourage generalization of skills. At the end of the session each week, the group leader meets briefly with each parent for questions and updates. Additionally, parents may observe their child’s group or have another member of their educational team observe (requests must be made in advance). For less-intrusive observation, parents may request that a video of their child’s group be made for their (on-site) viewing.

 

For Vacation Gap, we accept private insurance and private pay.

For more information or submit an application for a toddler group, please email information@advancesonline.com or complete the Request Services form under “Contact Us.”


Advances Comprehensive Social Skills Assessment (ACSSA)

advances_comp_social_skillsIf you are concerned about your child’s social deficits but are not sure what to do, a good place to start is with a social skills assessment. Children’s academic skills are constantly tested so teachers know what their strengths and weaknesses are and whether or not additional supports are needed – why not test a child’s social skills as well? Assessment can lead to not only figuring out exactly which social skills should be targeted so time and resources are not wasted, but can also help track progress from year to year.

The Advances Comprehensive Social Skills Assessment is a criterion-referenced assessment tool for students with social skills deficits. The assessment will assess your child’s skills relative to proposed outcomes or goals and can be re-administered as needed to measure progress toward those same objectives. It assesses students’ strengths and weaknesses within and across sub-domains. It is not necessary that all areas be assessed; each domain may be assessed individually.

Sub-Domains:

  • Body Language
  • Beginning Conversation
  • Advanced Conversation
  • Independent Play
  • Pretend Play
  • Cooperative Play
  • Social Conventions
  • Perspective Taking

The ACSSA Uses these Methods:

  • Parent Interview
  • Teacher Interview
  • 1:1 Testing
  • Direct Observation in the Natural Environment

 

For the ACSSA, we accept private insurance and private pay.

For more information or submit an application for a toddler group, please email information@advancesonline.com or complete the Request Services form under “Contact Us.”


Generalization Assessment

generalized_assessmentA generalization assessment assesses a student’s generalization of newly mastered skills from an Advanced social skills group to the school environment. A secondary purpose is to advise staff on the student’s school-based team how the skill was taught and what they might do to facilitate generalization of the skill to school, if the team agrees this would be beneficial. To this end, the report includes recommendations regarding motivational factors, environmental manipulations, and ways to create opportunities to display the skill.

A generalization assessment includes interviewing team members and observing the child during social times in school or the community (recess, lunch, playdates, birthday parties).

 

For a generalization assessment, we accept private insurance and private pay.

For more information or submit an application for a toddler group, please email information@advancesonline.com or complete the Request Services form under “Contact Us.”


 In-Home ABA consultation and instruction services

aba_home_consultation_instructionOur Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) consultants are Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) who come to your home to help your child and your family work through the issues that are most important to you; whether it is decreasing your child’s challenging behaviors, building your child’s language skills, or helping your them to become more independent with a daily routine.

  • Initial Assessment: A senior ABA specialist reviews your child’s reports and evaluations, interviews you and other team members, observes your child in his/her natural environment and may implement a variety of assessment tools and processes. Based on the assessment, the consultant writes specific objectives for your child to work on and writes individualized teaching programs to help your child make progress on these objectives.
  • Service Delivery: We tailor our ABA services so they fit each particular family’s needs. While we know challenging and interfering behaviors can seem overwhelming at times, a trained ABA instructor can assist you by implementing training programs, modeling the skills you will need to work with your child, and providing feedback. Although the ABA specialist may be the one implementing the teaching programs, closely supervised by the consultant, parents are still kept in the loop and are encouraged to watch sessions.

Because the ultimate goal of services is to leave the parent in charge of programming, we encourage parents to be closely involved in teaching their child. The consultant can train the parents how to run the teaching programs, and consultants can serve as a resource to fine-tune the teaching programs and troubleshoot. A combination of consultation to parents and to an instructor is also possible. For example, if the child requires more instruction time than is feasible for only the parent to provide, both the parents and an ABA instructor could implement teaching programs.

Data are continuously taken (writing down exactly what the client does as the client does it) and these data are then graphed in order to track progress objectively. Teaching is individualized and dynamic; if the child is not learning, the consultant will adjust the teaching procedures. There is more than one right way of doing things! At Advances Learning Center, the child’s learning determines how we teach.

 

For in-home ABA consultant and instruction services, we accept private insurance, some public insurance plans, and private pay.

For more information or submit an application for a toddler group, please email information@advancesonline.com or complete the Request Services form under “Contact Us.”


In-Home Behavioral Services (IHBS) through CBHI

aba_home_behavioralIn-Home Behavioral Services is a Mass Health service provided through the Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI) and provided for directly in the home or child’s community.

The focus is on training the family/parents to decrease challenging behaviors by teaching appropriate replacement behaviors. Parents and families are an active part of every session! Our Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapists are Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) and will come out to your home to help you and your child manage his/her challenging behaviors.

  • Initial Assessment: First, the ABA therapist completes an initial assessment, which includes a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA). The purpose of the FBA is to understand the “what’s” and “why’s” of the challenging behavior. The FBA includes reviewing your child’s reports/evaluations, interviewing parents and other team members, observing the child in his/her natural environment (home, community, etc.), and direct testing, if appropriate.
  • Service Delivery: Next, the ABA therapist writes individualized goals and individualized teaching programs for your child. These teaching programs are systematic, meaning that, in order to be successful, they must be carried out consistently. If appropriate, a second staff member, called a monitor, will begin modeling the teaching programs while the parent/family observes. The purpose of this stage of service delivery is for the parents/family to begin to learn how to carry out the programs. The monitor and/or therapist take data (writing down exactly what the client does as the client does it) so that progress can be measured.

The teaching programs are then gradually handed over to the parent for implementation. The ultimate goal of services is for the parent/family to carry out programs so that the child is successful in their natural environment.

This service differs from in-home ABA consultation and instruction services in the following ways:

  • The service is available only to children who are covered by MassHealth.
  • The service must be found to be medically necessary. This means the child is engaging in challenging behaviors to the extent that the safety of the child and/or others are at risk or the child’s health is at risk.
  • The goal of services is to decrease challenging behaviors. While we acknowledge that skill building is important, insurance regulations mandate that we can only address objectives designed to reduce challenging behavior. This will include increasing appropriate replacement behaviors related to the challenging behaviors.
  • Parental ABA training is a crucial component of the service. Parents must be present at every session and make progress towards running programs.

Once the objective(s) related to the challenging behavior are met, the family/parent can independently manage the behavior, or the service is no longer medically necessary, In Home Behavioral Services are systematically faded.

 

This service is available for clients through age 21.

For In-Home Behavioral Services, we accept Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership (MBHP).

For more information, please email information@advancesonline.com or fill out the Request Services form under “Contact Us.”


Parental ABA Training

womenWe offer several different types of training for families related to Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Parents are the best teachers since they know their children better than anyone and are with their children day in and day out! We can help parents augment their teaching by incorporating the principles of ABA. We can also give parents ideas of skills to teach and different ways to teach them in order to help their child progress.

  • ABA Basics – This training, which includes guided notes, writing activities, and demonstrations, is designed to help parents understand the basic principles of ABA and how the principles can be used to teach new skills. The training is designed for parents who are already working with a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). The goal of the training is to help parents understand the teaching programs the BCBA is using with their child on a more fundamental level so that parents can carry over teaching programs into their child’s day-to-day life.

Various ABA-related topics – We can provide training for parents related to one of the following specific topics:

  • Assessing Social Skills
  • Dealing with Challenging Behavior
  • Emotional Regulation from an ABA Perspective
  • Executive Functioning from an ABA Perspective
  • Generalization
  • Motivation
  • Perspective-Taking and Inferencing
  • Play Dates
  • Teaching Social Skills Across the Day
  • Understanding ABA
  • Writing IEP Objectives

 

For more information or to request individual or group parent training, please email information@advancesonline.com or fill out the Request Services form under “Contact Us.”