Straight from the source!
"At Starfish, even when he feels tired or 'done', he is able to use problem solving skills and work with his teachers and Steph to work through his feelings.
Most importantly he is starting to gain confidence around peers, interact more appropriately (rather than engaging in attention seeking behavior from the start) and make friends. In general, he's a happier kid!
He has social needs and those needs are being met and supported during his time at Starfish. We have been able to phase out ABA in part because Starfish provides him the safe, fun and stable environment to put those hard practiced skills into use with his peers. His growth this year has been tremendous and he continues to surprise us.
Not only does Starfish give him the opportunity to practice his skills in real-time, they also encourage him to go a little farther than we probably would! They hold him accountable which makes him feel more like a “normal” kid rather than someone always needing special treatment. They see his potential and his strengths and work to bring those out."
- Jenny, parent of a 7th grader
"I always wonder if my daughter is using the skills she learns at Starfish in the real world. I was talking to her teacher yesterday and she wanted to tell me about how well she is doing to manage stressful situations.
She was paired with a student to do a math problem. They had to agree on the work they would do together, and initially they had different ideas. She worked with her on a compromise, part of it would be like the girl wanted and the other part would be like my daughter wanted. They finished the work and got the correct answer. Flexible brain and teamwork. Starfish is amazing!"
- Parent of a 4th grader
"Steph and the team at Starfish understood my son and his needs right away. They also knew how to break it down for him in ways that built his self-confidence that I never would have come up with myself.
They taught him how to make meaningful steps in acting more independently, interact with other people more appropriately and better regulate his emotions, especially when dealing with unexpected or disappointing events. Thanks to Starfish, we have seen so many improvements which absolutely improve his quality of life and ours. We have gone from worrying about our son’s future to having real hope that he will be able to lead an independent and successful life."
- Laurie, parent of an adult student
"The journey to Starfish has been a long one for us. We have been to neurologists and speech therapy and behavioral therapists and occupational therapists and had school meetings with special education teachers at multiple school districts.
We have turned over a lot of rocks for some ways to understand and identify our son's issues and work with him, and it's been way harder than you would think to find the right help. It's been a lot of "Yeah, he's got problems but we don't know what to do about it."
So it was kind of amazing to find Starfish. Steph defines the situation for us. We feel like we've finally found someone who knows how to help him. She gives us real tools to work with him cognitively to change his behavior. I wish everyone had access to this!"
- Julie, parent of a 6th grader
"My daughter had struggled making friends with people her own age. She didn’t like to play games or do other things kids her age would like to do. She struggled with back and forth conversation. The older she got the more others noticed her differences and it was starting to become problematic. I was afraid that as she got older kids were starting to get 'mean'.
I was skeptical as to whether Steph could understand the issues we had with just one interview. But she had this way of drawing things out that was amazing! I wasn’t sure my daughter would like it and I didn’t want to 'make' her do something that wasn’t fun.
But she loved going. She joins in and plays with other kids voluntarily! She actually plays with her younger sister now! She is MUCH more talkative and seems much happier! She has made progress at school too with friends on the playground and even encouraged another quiet girl to get out and play."
- Kerry, parent of a 5th grader
Before finding Starfish, I was very concerned and frustrated with previous interventions, feeling like no one understood my child and what to do to help her.
My daughter has made and continues to make significant progress at Starfish. I feel like my parenting has improved as well, particularly in how I approach conversations with her. I find myself thinking, 'What would Steph do?" It has been a welcomed relief honestly. I see that Starfish’s simple and effective approach is exactly what she needs and it is a beautiful feeling to see that she has a tribe there and somewhere where she feels a sense of belonging. I am SO happy with her progress. It is the most growth I have seen than with any other therapies she has had in the past.
Steph has opened my eyes to my child. I feel like I understand her so much better. As a teacher and a special-needs mom I have been to countless workshops and trainings on autism. However, observing Steph and watching her work her magic with my daughter and other kids, I feel like my whole approach to talking to children has forever shifted. I am forever grateful to have met Steph.
-Dawn, parent of a 10th grader