Friends and Fitness
The Center for Autism Treatment, Inc. (The Center) offers a full spectrum of services provided by a team of experts. Our mission is to provide the highest quality services for children with autism spectrum disorders using methods and procedures that have been proven effective through research and real world application. We are dedicated to impacting your child’s future by improving motivation, communication, interaction, learning, and independence.
Friends and Fitness is a unique program offered by The Center for Autism Treatment in conjunction with Fanatics of Fitness, LLC. This class has three primary goals: to improve social interaction/ social communication skills, to improve fitness, and to provide a supported bridge to further community integration. The class is designed to enhance the physical, behavioral, and social language skills of children who demonstrate emerging motivation for social interaction and require specific, concentrated intervention to acquire social skills. It is further designed for children who have basic imitation skills but require focused training to utilize those skills to improve coordination, strength, agility, endurance, and cooperative game skills. Children who currently receive services through The Center or meet specific language and behavioral prerequisites are invited to participate in this group.
The group is designed and led by Tamara Kasper, Speech-Language Pathologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst, in partnership with Jordan Semevolos, Athletic Trainer. The group consists of 6-10 children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and/or other social deficits. Members of the group are provided an opportunity to meet once or twice per week for units, which are 1-2 months in duration. Friends and Fitness classes take place at the fitness studio of The Center for Autism Treatment located in Mequon, Wisconsin. Classes are 1-1.5 hours in duration and meet twice weekly on Tuesday and Thursday. The Beginner or “Shorties” version of the class is one hour in duration. Fitness programming includes: fitness test, physical warm up, yoga, functional training/plyometric circuits (athletic training) and cooperative games or skills/drills and concepts needed for seasonal sports such as football, basketball, soccer, kickboxing, and other sports/skills. Social skills and social language goals vary and are individualized for each participant, but may include: problem solving, negotiation, working together, understanding verbal and nonverbal cues used in sports training, good sportsmanship (cheering, encouraging, being a good winner (or loser), initiating with others and waiting for eye contact, recalling friend’s interests, learning to assess and join structured and unstructured activities, coping with loss/confusion/loud environments, predicting the behavior of a peer, identifying and rating personal level of volume, fatigue, like/dislike, speed during an activity, asking others about their feelings, offering assistance, and understanding language and figures of speech associated with sports. This instruction consists of cartoon representations of social language goals, video models, guided practice with feedback, and contrived opportunities to practice skills through games, and contrived social problems. The class is comprised of learners with autism and specially trained, typically developing peer models when available. Community partnerships are facilitated via expert guest speakers and/or trips to relevant community locations Past participants demonstrate dramatic progress in posttest assessment of social skills, motor skills, and sports facts. Shadows are assigned on an individual basis as needed based on the social skills and motor skills of the learner.
Each child’s need for support will be assessed and the child may be accompanied by a Line or Senior, who is specially trained to facilitate social interaction among participants and collect data on social goals specific to each learner. Pre and post session data is collected on fitness and social language targets as well as sports facts.
Language Prerequisites for the Advanced Class include:
Frequent and spontaneous requests and multiword requests
Ability to label items and actions and combine nouns and verbs to label with minimum of 200-300 word expressive vocabulary
Receptive language skills which include receptive identification of items in a variety of situations, ability to follow instructions to do a motor task and noun-verb instructions
Ability to imitate novel actions and specific words and phrases
Ability to select or name items from a book or group of items when told feature, function, or class for greater than 50 items and can respond to Who? What? and Which? questions regarding feature, function, or class of items presented
Verbally responds to more than 90 phrases or questions including what, who or where questions without items present. This should include the ability to answer questions or fill in items regarding several age appropriate toys and activities
Clear articulation or alternate functional communication system and beginning to emit 2-3 word utterances or sign/symbol combinations
Engages in independent play or play with adults that does not require additional reinforcement beyond what is provided by the game (is automatically reinforcing). Play skills should include: demonstrating functional use of toys (macro play), playing with toys in creative ways (symbolic play), playing toy sets (micro play) and playground equipment (sensory motor)
Behavioral Prerequisites for the Advanced Class Include:
The value of preferred toys and socially mediated reinforcement outweighs the value of self-stimulatory behavior or plan in place to shape this behavior. That is, the learner would generally play with a toy with an adult without self-stimulatory behavior if extra reinforcement is provided
Generally cooperative during play with adults for at least 15 minute intervals
Little or no aggression exhibited in the last 3 months
Behavior plans in place to address problem behavior can be utilized in a variety of situation with less than a 15 minute interruption in therapy per session for the last 3 months
Language Prerequisites for the Shorties Class include:
Independent requests to adults
Ability to label items and actions for a minimum of 100 word expressive vocabulary
Receptive language skills which include receptive identification of items in a variety of situations and the ability to follow instructions to do a simple motor task
Ability to imitate actions and words (can require prompting)
Ability to select or name items from a group of items or pictures
Intelligible articulation or alternate functional communication system for single words
Engages in independent play or play with adults that does not require additional reinforcement beyond what is provided by the game (is automatically reinforcing) or when provided with a token system or DRO interval.
Behavioral Prerequisites for the Shorties Class Include:
The value of preferred toys and socially mediated reinforcement outweighs the value of self-stimulatory behavior or has a plan in place to shape this behavior. Generally cooperative during play with adults for at least 5-10 minute intervals
Behavior plans in place to address problem behavior can be utilized in a variety of settings.
WHERE: The Center for Autism Treatment, Inc. | 1496 W. Mequon Road, Mequon, WI 53092
WHEN: Tues/Thur 4-5 (SHORTIES) OR 5-6:30 (ADVANCED) during the SCHOOL YEAR.
Tues/Thur 12:30-1:30 (SHORTIES) OR 1:30-3 (ADVANCED) during the SUMMER.
DATES: Your child may attend one or two sessions per week, with a minimum of 4 sessions per month.
FEES: The social communication skills portion of the class may be billable through insurance or CLTS for some eligible participants. The registration and fitness portion of the class is billed through Fanatics of Fitness, LLC. Private pay options for therapeutic support are also available.