Seedlings Program

CORA's School Services Partners with Elwyn

Lauren thought she won the lottery when her four year old son Mason was enrolled into the Elwyn Seedlings program. This early intervention preschool for ages 3 – 5 year olds is dedicated to providing intensive programming for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The program is rooted in the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and curricula is individualized to meet each child’s unique needs. In addition to his daily education at Seedlings, Mason is supported by a team of speech and occupational therapists provided by CORA Services.

Through a new initiative, Elwyn has partnered with CORA for the early intervention needs of speech and occupational therapy for their approximately 70 children. CORA’s founder, Sister Charity, believed that early intervention was the key to overcoming challenges for many children and families in the Philadelphia area. CORA therapists at Elwyn Seedlings help children like Mason prepare for early elementary school by implementing functional related services within the classroom setting utilizing an integrated approach. Seedlings Director Ashlee Lamson commented, “As of September of 2015, our partnership with CORA has furthered our collaborative opportunities with city-wide agencies. Our partnership with CORA aligns with our integrated approach to therapy and allows for each team member to utilize their expertise in a way that is functional for the child. The integrated approach also supports team members from varying therapies to transfer discipline-specific knowledge to one another.”

Seedlings picture

CORA’s occupational therapists implement interventions that teach the fine motor skills necessary for students to access the curriculum. In addition, occupational therapy works to alleviate sensory issues that impede the children from being successful in a classroom setting. Kristina Kulak, CORA’s Occupational Therapist, understands the individual needs of her clients. She engages each child to locate the intervention necessary for that child to grow. This may include scheduled “breaks” to the sensory room, where accommodations such as specialized lighting and a variety of kinesthetic and auditory manipulatives are available. Other components of programming at Elwyn Seedlings include social skills instruction, where students learn to appropriately engage with peers and adults. Communication, as well as increasing prosocial behavior, are also consistent targets for instruction. Generalization of skills across environments is often difficult for children with autism to accomplish, therefore, strong partnerships with families is a priority at Elwyn Seedlings. Mason’s ability to engage with others is one example of the success that results from such collaboration.

Mason’s parents are immensely grateful to the staff at CORA and Elwyn Seedlings for their patience, time, and especially love to their son. In the past 18 months, Mason has grown to be able to learn more each day in the classroom. Mason, who was previously not emitting verbal language, has worked with his team, including CORA’s speech therapist, Amber Phillips, to increase his repertoire of communication to over 100 words. “This is a huge milestone for Mason!” commented Amber. Each day, CORA’s staff reinforces the skills of receptive language. The mission and values of CORA are demonstrated in the community everyday where children are always the heart of the matter.

Read more about Early Intervention