Do you have a young child who has been diagnosed with autism? ABLE Kids might be a resource that benefits your child and your family. After opening in 2016, ABLE Kids is bringing its comprehensive services for children with autism to the Upstate and is currently enrolling new clients. In this article, you’ll learn more about ABLE Kids’ services, what makes their services special, and how to get started.
When a family has a child with special needs, finding and navigating resources that meet the child’s and family’s needs can, at times, seem insurmountable. ABLE Kids is a new addition to the Greenville community that meets some of these needs through comprehensive therapies offered all under one roof and in a supportive and caring environment.
Who is ABLE Kids for?
ABLE Kids serves children between the ages of 2 to 6 who are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder level 2 -3 and who require 30 or more hours of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services. In addition to ABA therapies, ABLE Kids also provides occupational and speech therapies.
What does a day at ABLE Kids look like?
ABLE Kids works like a pre-school model, offering children a full-day of services from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Children work one-on-one with a registered behavior technician under the supervision of a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Children also have guided group interaction. Importantly, the program at ABLE Kids is small and offers personalized therapy. There are no more than 10 kids enrolled in the program at a time. The goal of these full days is to get kids ready to enter a full-day immersive program when they leave ABLE Kids.
Hannah Boatright, Director of Outreach, describes a “typical” day at ABLE Kids: “There’s a wide array of needs we tackle. Every kid’s schedule is a little different. But there are some things we do a little differently throughout the day. We transition throughout the day to work on social skills and work on things they will do when they get to school. They may arrive and eat breakfast and work with a therapist, but they will also come together in a classroom and do a structured circle time, be with other peers and learn how to function appropriately in a group setting. Kids learn from seeing other kids engage in tasks like ‘Oh, this is how I keep my hands to myself!’ ‘Ah, this is how you peel an orange!’ or ‘This is how I pump my legs on a swing!’”
ABLE Kids students don’t necessarily share the same schedules, but their schedules aim to simulate a school day with transitions, different directives, and instructions from different people.
In addition to providing in-house services to students, ABLE Kids collaborates with schools and community resources, especially as students prepare to leave ABLE Kids and transition into new educational settings.
ABLE Kids offers a supportive village
While some clinics might feel like a revolving door of therapists and schedules, ABLE Kids intentionally pushes back against that. According to Hannah, ABLE Kids offers a family-style village environment. “Clinics are small and all of our schedules are the same. We have more therapists on staff than we have kids. All of the therapists know all of the kids and we create close bonds with the families and with each other. That helps with our style of therapy and how we do things. It’s all done through love. We keep it professional, but genuinely build close relationships with the children. We celebrate them as we would our own children!” explains Hannah.
Where is ABLE Kids?
ABLE Kids now has one location in Greenville, at 20 Memorial Medical Drive, which is near the Greenville Memorial Hospital. A location in Mauldin, on Winchester Court (a block off Main Street), is slated to open Winter 2021. Other locations are in Georgia (Atlanta, Augusta, Evans, Pooler, and Savannah), North Carolina (Charlotte and Concord), and South Carolina’s Columbia, Irmo, and North Augusta.
How to get started
Parents and caregivers are encouraged to take a tour of campus, while also exploring other providers and talking with your child’s pediatrician. Hannah explains “We want parents to make a decision they feel confident about. If your child requires a lot of behavior management, ABLE Kids’ one-on-one environment can help with that skill acquisition that ultimately helps them succeed. We give them the independence that will help them succeed in school.”
Even if ABLE is not the best fit for your child, they are happy to help you get connected to the resources that are. They offer a resource booklet and a comprehensive resource page on their website to help parents find diagnosing providers, support groups, sensory-friendly activities and venues, and events that may benefit your child and family.
If you’re wondering if ABLE Kids is right for your family, you can fill in an inquiry form on the ABLE Kids website or call an outreach coordinator at 864.900.6678. You can also learn more on the ABLE kids website.
20 Memorial Medical Drive
Greenville, SC 29605