Our Comprehensive Program

Four-day Intensive Training for Child and Parents Plus Six Months of Distance Support and Training

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This is a powerful training program for children with autism and their parents, individually provided for one child and family at a time. This program is offered at our Colorado offices or in your home. During this four day program, Steven assesses your child’s communication and social skills and customize the therapy for your child’s needs as well as for his or her strengths and interests. Parents and accompanying support people are taught specific, hands-on methods, skills and program strategies to continue helping your child at home.

The program also includes six months of follow-up consultation and support by phone and Internet. This enables Steven to continually adjust the home program to keep pace with your child’s progress while also supporting parents and teachers to remain motivated and effective.

This highly individualized program creates a dynamic immersion experience for your child, in which any area of his or her current need can be addressed. Your consultant, Steven Wertz, is an  expert at making learning fun for both children and adults, as well as in providing an atmosphere  of deep care, respect and encouragement.

International Experience

International Experience with autism photo

Growing Minds has provided the Comprehensive Program to families from every part of the US, Canada, Puerto Rico, The United Kingdom, Ireland, Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Poland, Italy, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Israel, Iraq, Iran, India, China and Australia. We prioritize a respectful and sensitive attitude toward cultural differences. When a child’s first language is not English, we familiarize ourselves with his or her language. We have learned to praise and use simple communications in Dutch, Polish, Hebrew, French, etc. In addition, we are pleased to offer information and support to make your travel to Colorado as comfortable and pleasant as can be. We have much experience and can guide you in making travel easier for your child.

Read what parents have said about the Growing Minds Comprehensive Program.

The Comprehensive Program is custom-designed for each family and child, based on videos, parent priorities and other assessment tools which parents send us in advance. Based on these materials, we design the four-day program to address your child’s specific challenges as well as parents’ priorities and concerns. The Comprehensive Program can be specifically designed for:

Program Location

We are located in Broomfield, Colorado, near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, 10 miles from Boulder, 17 miles from Denver and 30 Miles from Denver International Airport. The area is noted for beautiful mountain scenery and hiking and is an hour from Rocky Mountain National Park.

Families stay in a local hotel and receive training at our location each day. Our programs run from Monday to Thursday, 9AM to 4PM and Friday 9AM to 3PM. 
More information about lodging and travel.

Benefits for the Child

  • Four days in an optimal learning environment focused on his or her needs. Many children noticeably improve eye contact, attention, cooperation and communication, while some demonstrate significant progress with language, behavior or other skills.
  • The full focus and attention of one of the most experienced consultants in the field of autism today. The benefits of this experience for your child cannot be over-stated. Unlike many autism programs, no portion of this program is delivered by interns, students, teachers-in-training, paraprofessionals or recently graduated teachers.

Participants Rate Our Comprehensive Program

We surveyed all 96 participants who completed our five-day program during an 18 month period. This group consisted of parents, relatives, professionals and program volunteers.

  • 73% rated the overall program quality as “outstanding”
  • 27% rated the overall program quality as “very good”
  • There was not a single rating of “good,” “fair” or “poor” from any of those surveyed.

Read what they said about the Comprehensive Program.

  • A learning environment infused with the spirit of play. Social interaction remains a constant priority even while we are teaching your child other necessary skills.
  • The opportunity to be correctly understood, perhaps for the first time. In our experience, many individuals with ASD are working very hard to compensate for unidentified difficulties which exist along with autism. We have a great deal of experience in assessing for and detecting issues of this kind. For the child, a clear understanding of his or her exact difficulties (versus simply a general diagnosis like ASD) can bring recognition of hidden strengths as well as treatment methods designed that make progress and communication easier and more satisfying. 
  • An atmosphere in which he or she is celebrated and respected as a unique individual with strengths and challenges. Even as we strive to understand the nature of your child’s individual difficulties, we will never underestimate his or her intelligence and potential for growth. If one method doesn’t work, we will keep trying until we find the best way to teach your child. We never blame the child for failing to learn; instead we keep searching for better ways to help.
  • The opportunity to grow and thrive with the best evidence-based teaching methods for autism available today.
  • The priceless advantage of returning home with more confident, skillful, empowered and hopeful parents, who have renewed faith in the child’s potential and new energy and effectiveness to help.

Benefits for Parents

  • Hands-on training to support your child’s social development. You will learn tools for increasing your child’s delight in human interaction, according to his or her current social development. We address areas of current need, from gaining attention, eye contact and affection to handling challenging behaviors to helping your child learn to play with peers and family members.
  • Observation of our team teaching and interacting with your child, as well as addressing challenging behaviors. 
  • Training to teach your child. You’ll learn instructional methods to more effectively teach your child and to accomplish appropriate goals. You’ll have opportunities to practice these skills with your child and receive supportive coaching and feedback.
  • Training to maximize opportunities for incidental learning. How to become more effective in teaching your child during day-to-day activities such as meals, play times, car rides, outings, etc.
  • Proven strategies and methods for reducing challenging behaviors.
  • Thorough assessment of your child’s current development, with a focus on identifying any underlying barriers to learning, such as hidden neurological, visual, motor, executive function and related issues. The assessment examines your child’s current development across the primary developmental areas, including cognitive, language, motor, social, self-help, etc. This becomes the basis for all treatment planning as well as a clear baseline for measuring progress. Read more about how and why we do this assessment.
  • An individualized curriculum/education plan. This written plan will include specific methods, resources and activities to use at home, based on appropriate goals and targets. This will give you precise ways of tracking your child’s progress and adjusting the program accordingly (with our help).
  • A supportive environment in which the parents’ role is valued and respected. Often parents have tried many things and developed considerable expertise with their child. You will be met with understanding and acknowledgement for the challenges you face, respectful listening to your concerns and support for your priorities. Our intention is to help you take the next step, by working collaboratively with you, rather than directing you.
  • Training to begin or improve a home program, Depending on the type of program you plan to develop, you’ll have options to learn about recruiting therapists or teachers, training others to work with your child, team building and feedback, coaching skills and communication skills. Plus how to have fun doing it all.
  • Help to evaluate your child’s school program and, if necessary, help with advocating for necessary changes. Following your return home, we can liaison with teachers, school administrators or other service providers as needed and requested by parents. We can also coach you to become more effective at coordinating with teachers, SLPs and other service providers.
  • Parent counseling (optional). You may choose to include sessions with Kaitryn Wertz, a licensed counselor with 30 years of experience working with parents of children with ASD. This is a chance to address the unique issues that can affect parents whose child has autism in an accepting, confidential environment. If you find your ability to be present for your child and family becomes compromised by stress, worry or other troubling emotions, this can be a chance to restore your peace of mind, while also finding solutions that will benefit the whole family.
  • Parent empowerment (optional). According the interests of the parents, we offer options for training in stress management, communication skills, team building, time management, supervising program workers and parent effectiveness (with your special child’s neuro-typical siblings). These sessions provide the opportunity to talk through your concerns and find answers.
  • The opportunity to include other key people, such as grandparents or other relatives, or key staff or therapists working with your child. While we encourage parents to limit the number of support people they bring, so that the training does not become too diffuse, it is often helpful to bring key family members , therapists or teachers who spend a lot of time with your child. This enables you to return home with the support of other skilled people who can teach your child effectively.
  • Training to take your child on outings (if appropriate). Steven can observe your child in a social or recreational setting, for instance, the beach, playground, bowling alley or restaurant. He’ll make suggestions for optimizing these outings.  (Based on the needs of the child, Steven may sometime suggest that he or she accomplish other behavioral goals first before going on outings.)
  • Options for an extended program. For international families traveling a great distance, we can arrange a longer program to maximize your trip.

All 4-Day Programs Include Training To:

  • Help your child improve social skills and enjoy relationships more fully
  • Encourage attentiveness and eye contact
  • Invite more speech and communication
  • Inspire cooperation and overcome resistance
  • Deal effectively with your child’s challenging behaviors
  • Have more fun with your child
  • Find opportunities to teach and create learning in everyday life
  • Use your child’s interests to stimulate his or her learning

Six-Month Distance Support Is Included

You’ll continue to receive training and support after you return home. This training is done by means of video, telephone and online instruction. Read more about the Distance Training.

Distance Program Highlights:

  • Two consultations per month to improve your effectiveness at teaching your child and to assist you in resolving emerging concerns.
  • Online support and instruction through our private, "members only” discussion forum.  We go on-line to answer your posted questions twice weekly.
  • Web Curriculum tracking.
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