Painted Lighthouse » Strenthening Families

Special Needs Services


When children have difficulties with the development of social skills, it can often lead to problems developing and maintaining friendships which can result in feelings of sadness, anxiety and behavioural problems at home and in the community.

The goal of the Self-Regulation Group is to build on each child’s ability to emotionally regulate themselves and learn new TOOLS to adapt their behaviours to respond to different social expectations in a variety of environments. Specifically, how children can become ‘detectives’ to figure out what is expected of them socially and to help develop and maintain friendships (curriculum based on Michelle Garcia Winner). New skills are obtained through role play and direct instruction from trained professionals in a highly structured play environment. Parent education is a main component to focus on how the adults in each child’s life can help generalize the skills outside of group.

Anxiety can show itself in the form of physical complaints such as stomach aches and headaches, as well as behavioral challenges such as resistance, defiance and tantrums. A family approach is used in working with childhood anxiety. Children are seen individually using cognitive behavioral therapy to gain an understanding of how their worries work and develop tools to fight back. Parents as well are seen so that they gain a better understanding of how anxiety works, what are some unhelpful and helpful responses to their child’s worries as well as becoming aware of the tools used to effectively manage it.

CBT could involve individual sessions with the child and/or Parent Education for how to learn new ways to adaptively respond to their child’s anxiety.

At times it can be difficult to know what a child’s challenging behaviour means or is communicating to us. Behavioural Consultation will assess the function of the challenging behaviour and Treatment plans will outline the function of the specific behavior, alternative behaviours will be identified and programming will be supplied to help teach and generalize the new behavior in a variety of settings.

Functional Behaviour Analysis may be part of the Assessment to obtain observations in a variety of environments where the targeted behavior (for example, hitting) is both present and absent.

The Developmental, Individual Difference, Relationship-based (DIR(r)/Floortime(tm)) Model is a framework that helps clinicians, parents and educators conduct a comprehensive assessment and develop an intervention program tailored to the unique challenges and strengths of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other developmental challenges. The objectives of the DIR(r)/Floortime(tm) Model are to build healthy foundations for social, emotional, and intellectual capacities rather than focusing on skills and isolated behaviors.

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