Sign Language is an interest for many of our workshop clients. One staff member has been using her skill in this area to help our interested clients expand their knowledge of sign language. They began focusing on learning some common phrases. Next, the clients wanted to learn to sing happy birthday in sign language. Most recently they have begun to learn the Pledge of Allegiance.
Stepping Stones is funded by the Division of Developmental Disabilities and operated by the Bergen County Special Services School District. Developed for individuals 21 and older residing in Bergen County, the program specializes in providing a structured and supportive environment with intense behavioral support.
Over the last year and a half, the Stepping Stones program relocated from the Rockleigh campus to the District’s 64 East Midland Ave facility in Paramus. After a smooth transition the individuals in the program have settled in nicely. Our new location has provided the program with more opportunities for community integration and shared activities with peer groups in the area. Eventually, the Stepping Stones program will be moving to the new BCSS Education Center at 396 East Ridgewood Avenue in Paramus, the former site of the Bergen County Juvenile Detention Center.
The Stepping Stones program focuses on prevocational skills, independent living skills, community involvement and communication/socialization skills. These activities are introduced and reinforced in a structured and sequential manner. Activities may be group oriented or individually based. While in the midst of activities and individualized objectives, staff members assist individuals to reach maximum participation, learn new skills and be engaged with others. The team works closely together and partners with individuals and their family to develop a meaningful plan of care for each year. Each individual’s plan is unique to them. We are able to obtain a high level of support and make modifications as needed because of the high staff/client ratio.
One of the program’s many attributes is the caring and experienced staff in the program on a daily basis. There is a unified approach to instruction, as well as, the approach to daily scheduling. Staff sensitively predispose and support individuals on the autism spectrum to adapt to change and meet daily challenges. Staff take a hierarchical approach to behaviors, and may adjust the environment and programming to provide safe milieu and promote positive outcomes for adults in the program.
Programmatically, each individual is guided to demonstrate more self-directed behavior, increased adaptive skills, as well as, increased independence and interpersonal skill development.
New opportunities are becoming available to the adults from the Stepping Stones Program. The addition of a bus, located at our Program, allows us to take trips that we never considered before. The Paramus Rehab. adults have been participating in volunteer and community service projects and the Stepping Stones adults will be joining them in the near future. Trips available to us will be at the Food Pantry and the Goodwill store. This is an exciting opportunity for our adults to get involved with their community.
Stepping Stones recently participated in the Signs of Life Health Fair at the Paramus Rehab. Workshop. Each adult chose a planet to do research on. The adults created posters and folders filled with information on their particular planet. NASA even mailed us photos and information to display. Our motto was, “We Love our Space”. The adults spent several months in preparation for this every special event.