Q: Tell me more about your program!
A: Our students attend a 12-month program, broken down into 5 modules. We meet 42 weeks out of the year. Each week consists of an hour of direct class instruction and an hour of game/social time on separate evenings.
Students can also continue after the 12-month program ends; we have a couple students who just started their 4th year with us and more than half our current students have already completed at least a year with us. There are always new things to learn and new ways to apply the content as kids get older and encounter new experiences. so students are able to attend as long as they choose to!
Classes are recorded and portions are uploaded into an online portal for parents to view so they can see what their kids are learning and help implement the skills and strategies outside of Starfish.
We also provide weekly live Q&A sessions via Zoom with Ms. Stephanie. Recordings are shared to the group.
Q: Is attendance in person or online?
A: All students who register after August, 2020, will attend online. We may still open our weekly game night to in-person attendees but classes will be online only. We have students as young as 7 successfully attending via Zoom (and most of our kids have autism and/or ADHD), so don't underestimate your child's ability to engage and benefit online! Our ratio is 5:1 so it's much more interactive and there is more assistance available than what most of our students are used to in traditional online learning settings.
Q: What are the eligibility criteria for students?
A: We are open to students 7-21 who are verbal and struggle with social skills challenges. We do not have any disability criteria. Most of our students have ADHD and/or autism, but we also have students with other diagnoses and students with no diagnosis. Social learning challenges present differently for different students, but some examples include difficulty making friends, displaying unexpected social behaviors, social anxiety, and trouble 'fitting in'. We consider students under 7 on a case-by-case basis as long as they have the intellectual ability to engage in our content and the attentional capacity to attend via Zoom. Students attend independently (no parents allowed!), so our students must have the functional skills to be able to do that. We have students across the intellectual spectrum, from self-contained special education classes to inclusion classes to gifted programs.
Q: How do payments work?
We have a one-time payment option or a 12-month payment option. Rates are determined each time we open registration so those will be posted when registration is open. Students who continue past the 12-month mark do so at the same rate for as long as they attend. Our program is not covered by insurance.
Q: What types of skills do you teach?
A: We don't teach discrete skills, we teach social awareness!
For example, we have a module that is all about learning how the things we say and do create our reputation, and learning how to change our reputation if we choose to (everything is a choice here).
Another module teaches students how to notice things about other people and use that information to choose who we want to engage with, what things we can talk about, and make connections with similar peers who have common interests.
We also have a module that involves relationships. Students learn the difference between strangers, aquaintances, and friends (and how our behavior should be different with each), what behaviors flag us as friendly or unfriendly, kind or unkind, etc. We also talk about romantic relationships, healthy vs. unhealthy relationships, and all the expectations along the way.
Q: How do I enroll my student?
A: Enrollment opens around late September, late December, late February, early May, and mid July, and is based on availability. Please make sure you have joined our email list to be notified when registration opens each term.