LEWISTOWN - Many parents know the added support necessary to develop strong social/emotional attachments and resiliency in their children. They also know how difficult it is to infuse those skills in their children without the support of their community.
Children with an autism spectrum diagnosis have additional barriers requiring the community to take additional steps. NHS Human services, which has been making a difference in the communities they serve for more than 40 years, offers a program designed to facilitate children with an ASD develop and maintain the social and emotional skills needed for a successful future.
The Stepping Stones Program, offered in Mifflin County, is designed to support the child and their families by working on targeted skills such as peer relations, environmental awareness, problem solving, language and leadership. The program provides an opportunity for community involvement to enhance the learning experience. Speakers, field trips and outings are important resources to the program and are all pulled from the community.
Photos submitted by NICHOLE KEITER
Mason Kohan, left, and Stephen Hipple Jr. play during free time at the Stepping Stones Program.
NHS Human Services is at the forefront of providing care and services for children with specials needs, but we cannot do it alone. No program is successful without the support of local families. Resiliency in children and families is the goal we are striving to achieve, which leads to a resilient community. The ability to bounce back after a negative situation or interaction is the key to embracing every experience as a building block.
The Stepping Stones Program is a clinically and therapeutically based program offered to children and adolescents, ages 3 to 14, who are diagnosed with an ASD. The site-based program is highly structured and allows participants to practice skill generalization and transfer learned skills to a new environment. Hours are after school and during the summer for 2-3 hours per day 2-3 days per week.
For more information or to recommend your services as part of our community involvement, call Nichole Keiter, BHRS supervisor for NHS Human Services, at 248-8540 ext. 343.