Autism Spectrum Disorder Program
The Copper Hills Youth Center Autism Spectrum Disorder Program, known as “Arches,” is designed to enhance the lives of adolescents aged 12 through 17 who are struggling with social, communication, behavioral, and sensory problems related to Autism Spectrum Disorders and/or related diagnoses. We recognize that adolescents may have significant difficulties in these areas even though they are not diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum; we carefully consider their needs to determine if they can benefit from the Arches program.
The staff and therapists of the Arches program work with each resident, focusing on individual needs and abilities necessary for improvement and progress with the goal of returning home. The treatment teams will utilize relational, behavioral, developmental, and educationally based interventions. The staff attends ongoing training, trauma-informed care and behavior management strategies are provided to them as well. We encourage our staff to participate in professional development opportunities such as seminars and conferences.
The Arches program goals are to:
- Increase functional independence
- Facilitate development and learning
- Improve socialization
- Enhance communication
- Replace maladaptive behaviors
- Educate and support families
- Keep residents safe
Components of the Arches program include:
- Individual and family therapy sessions and two group therapy sessions weekly with licensed therapists. Our therapists specialize in autism treatment modalities and have additional training in trauma and attachment using Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
- Trauma/Attachment initiative with Structured Psychotherapy for Adolescents Responding to Chronic Stress (SPARCS) and DDP including the Attachment Pledge and 21S’s of Attachment
- Recreation Therapy programming following Resiliency and Leisure and Well-Being Models; three 60 minute Recreation Therapy groups and challenge course initiatives, weekly community integration outings, monthly adventure based outings, monthly service outings, weekly onsite animal assisted therapy visits and Equine Therapy every 6 months. Additional Expressive Therapies include weekly Art Therapy, Music Therapy and Yoga groups.
- Educational classes Monday – Friday with teachers with Special Education backgrounds and professional development in the issues relating to our residents.
- 4 core classes English, Math, Science, History as well as Physical Education 3 times per week.
- Direct care staff led groups – two hours per day – relating to social skills, independent living skills, coping strategies, relationship development, and activities of daily living (ADLs).
- Curriculum includes: SPARCS, Relationship Development Intervention, and the Circles Program
- Direct care staff receives specialized training through the use of Autism Internet Modules.
- Sensory Integration – The facility has an onsite sensory room where sensory exercises are utilized throughout the day. We also have the ability to integrate sensory diets for individual residents as needed. Our staff has received specific training in the area of sensory integration.
- Social Stories – residents are provided opportunities to learn through Social Stories both as a community and individually as needed.
- Structured Teaching and Task Analysis as needed for improving ADLs – including hand washing, laundry, and teeth brushing.
- Use of visual cues throughout the milieu including daily schedule, laundry, and hand-washing.
- Behavior incentives include daily Super Job tickets with drawings for prizes, Copper Cash – used in the community store for higher phases, and weekly rewards for safe behaviors.