SLATE is a program of Rowell Family Empowerment that serves families and children living with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) ages 3 through 17. SLATE aims to improve social-emotional skills such as self-regulation, problem-solving, reasoning skills, and conflict resolution in children with ASD, in Shasta County.
The hallmark of SLATE is Get SET. Get SET (Get Social Emotional Training) is SLATE’s summer program which provides an environment for children and young adults to learn and grow side-by-side with typical children. There is a nominal enrollment fee per child and monies go to cover facility costs, equipment rental, admission fees, and other costs that are not covered by Far Northern Regional Center (FNRC). Get SET is the only inclusive summer program of its kind in Northern California for children with ASD.
The program is designed to aid in the learning of social and emotional, self-regulation skills that can be generalized in any and all settings. Get SET meets the many different skill levels of the children by carefully placing them in homogenous, small groups that best suit their needs and goals. This approach strengthens existing skills and puts the building blocks in place for those skills that have not yet developed. To do this we use a multitude of evidence-based practices to reach the children at their functional social/behavioral level. The program is systematically planned and developmentally appropriate according to the child’s chronological age, developmental level, specific strengths and weaknesses.
The evidence-based practices used throughout SLATE include:
To reinforce the learned skills, visual supports such as workbooks are also utilized. A rotation through the ‘Sensory room’ helps the participants learn sensory regulation using occupational therapy-based techniques. It’s not unusual to see outcomes such as better focus, improved behavior, and even lowered anxiety and agitation.
Priorities of Get SET include functional, spontaneous communication, social instruction delivered throughout the day, cognitive development and play skills, and a positive, proactive approach to behavioral problems. Instruction takes place through ongoing interactions with typically developing children. We refer to the typical children volunteering in the program as peer mentors. The mentors model good, age-appropriate behavior and language for children with autism to imitate and role-play. In other words, the mentors are there to set good examples!
Once a week during the summer program, the children and youth go on field trips into the community to practice their newly acquired skills. A pleasant byproduct of these outings is that people in the community become more aware and more educated about individuals with ASD. It’s a win-win situation!
Each group, or class, is led by a Therapeutic Group Leader who assists each child in mastering the goals and objectives set forth in their Individualized Service Plans (ISPs). These leaders are educated individuals, often credentialed therapists from local school districts, who work with children with diverse abilities throughout the year.
Inclusion Assistants, who assist the Group Leaders, are also peppered throughout each class. Each of them has received training in autism spectrum disorders either through the County Office of Education or directly through Rowell Family Empowerment.
It’s important for you to know that we care about each child in our program. The adult to children ratio in Get SET is 3:1.
SLATE is designed with the overall goal of improving life for individuals living with autism so they can become involved and productive members of their community.