Hello! My name is Ricky Teichman and I am the BCBA Clinical Director at The Puzzle Place Center for Autism. Some of the other hats I wear are devoted wife, busy mom to 5 little kiddos, in-house chef, chief cleaner upper and laundry folder, and RBT course instructor (not in any order whatsoever:)). In this blog I am going to share with you some of the little victories of the wonderful children I see at The Puzzle Place, as well as the many many resources we use to teach our children the many skills they learn here! I am so excited to begin sharing with you!
The History of The Puzzle Place
First, a little background. Before starting at The Puzzle Place, I worked as both ABA therapist and later BCBA through NJ’s Early Intervention System, as well as with private therapy agencies. I found the experience both extremely rewarding, as well as quite frustrating. Take the 3 year old boy I saw after school. He was in a special education private school, received about a half an hour of ABA a day in school by untrained therapists who were supervised by the BCBA about once every 3 months. We had him after a long day at school for an hour and a half, in the noisy setting of his houseful of siblings. He made a lot of progress, I made sure of that, but I knew that given a more intensive model he would do infinitely better and make quicker strides. I knew I needed a place for him that would provide an intensive model of ABA therapy with constant BCBA supervision.
While working for a private therapy agency, I experienced the mess that is trying to coordinate therapy schedules and keeping everyone on the same page. OT (Occupational Therapist) was seeing one thing, the morning ABA therapist was seeing other behaviors, the SLP (Speech-Language Pathologist) was doing her own thing, disregarding our Verbal Behavior Approach…. And no one spoke to each other much. Yes, they left notes in the child’s binder, but team meetings were very difficult to coordinate. I would come home building fantasies of a center where everyone worked together in one spot.
I would come home building fantasies of a center where everyone worked together in one spot.
A short while back I received a referral to work with a ten year old child after school. While evaluating this not-so-little girl, I was hugely disappointed to see that many of the basic skills that are taught to our 2-4 year olds had never been addressed, and it was going to be that much harder to teach to a child of her age. Many parents had told me that not only was receiving that Autism diagnosis a challenge (more about that in another post), trying to get the services that their children needed from school was a long and challenging process. A center where we can start a child at a year and provide every therapy in one setting? Did such a place exist?
Then there was another child I saw in home. He was lucky, he received 10 hours of ABA a day through Early Intervention. The only downside to all this was that his mom had to quite her job to stay home with him, as no daycare in the vicinity had an appropriate framework for him. One daycare that his parents had sent him to would allow him to sit in the corner and spin the wheels of his truck all day, and the next one they tried asked him to leave due to his aggression. His mother was the one who came up with the model of The Puzzle Place. The Puzzle Place Center for Autism’s model incorporates all of the experiences of parents and therapists who have gone the usual route before.
The Puzzle Place Center for Autism’s model incorporates all of the experiences of parents and therapists who have gone the usual route before.
We start the children young, as young as 15 months old (!), and provide ABA therapy, Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy at our center. Children can be here all day while their parents work, and team meetings occur regularly. The BCBA is on site and monitors each child’s progress continuously, and is on hand to troubleshoot any new behavior as it come up. The large facilities, both indoor and outdoor, and the most amazing, professional and loving staff encourage our children to learn, to grow and to accomplish great things! I’ll keep you posted!
Have a wonderful day!