Community Outreach Archives - Cultivate Behavioral Health & Education - ABA Therapy

Introducing Andres Sweetland: Community Outreach Coordinator in CO!

My name is Andres Sweetland, Community Outreach Coordinator for our clinic in Colorado Springs. By definition, community is a group of people who share a common place, experience, or interest. I have always felt a desire to serve on a foundational level and am inspired by the passionate personnel of Cultivate for being a focal point of awareness, and hard work that is the driving force behind behavioral change. My journey has been an ongoing experience of redefining my perception to the social and natural needs that the community in which I reside calls for.

A little bit more about me. I started my career working within the realm of environmental action, and social responsibility at the School of Global Environmental Sustainability as an Educator and Director of Outreach. Sustainability is a human and social issue as much as it is “environmental”, the human dimensions side of things is about people and how we can facilitate the success of others.

The Power in Community Outreach:

The Power in Community Outreach can be a culmination of things. Working with others, running with ideas on the next event you are hosting, and clearly being able to communicate are just small pieces that make Outreach essential in nurturing identity. At the very surface of Outreach is educating and acting as a point-person for resources such as our support groups, social groups, and ABA services that Cultivate offers in Colorado Springs.

Responsibilities vary day to day. As the focal point for families navigating autism, there are days where I am the initial point of contact to assist families in navigating our services, as well as working with our BCBAs and RBTs on creating the most seamless experience for the kiddo. The next day might bring a focused effort on or laying foundation for a drive for charity, social group, or our next big community event. Working as an Outreach coordinator is a dynamic-ever evolving process which rewards consistency.

As an Outreach Coordinator, duties can extend beyond your title and encourages you to explore a prosperous future for community, family, and the individual under a creative umbrella. One of my favorite aspects about working at Cultivate is being able to see the creativity in our social efforts. Cool Kids Club is a social group we offer which creates a space for kiddos living with autism to participate in a virtual show and tell. Exploring the passions of these children and seeing the interactions of our staff perfectly captures what it takes to be successful in Outreach. In the end, serving others around you and the community you reside is the key to successful Outreach and what this life is all about!

Cultivate Celebrates Autism Acceptance Month

To celebrate Autism Acceptance Month, Cultivate Behavioral Health & Education hosted its inaugural Autism Awareness and Acceptance Walk on April 3rd. Over 150 people signed up from across the country to run, walk, or hike wearing BLUE to shine a light on Autism acceptance. In the process, our participants helped raise donations for the Autism Society, which is a network that annually supports 600,000+ individuals and families through education, advocacy, information & referrals, support, and by building community. Thank you so much to everyone who participated and helped make our first annual walk/run event a success! 

Additionally, Cultivate Behavioral Health and Education is proud to have coordinated the donation of over 500 pounds of canned, dry goods, and diapers to multiple local food pantries across the nation, including the San Antonio Food Bank, Tinley Park Food Pantry, Mid-South Food Bank, and more. Partnering with local food banks and collecting donations encourages our communities to get involved in the fight to end hunger. Everyone’s support puts wholesome food on the tables of hungry children, families, and seniors. Thanks to all the generous donors who participated in our Autism Acceptance Month Food Drive! 

Cultivate provides individualized ABA services to children and adolescents in their homes, our learning centers, and throughout our community. We incorporate play and motivation to make socially significant changes in the lives of every child and family we meet. This means we celebrate autism and embrace the diversity it adds to our community. We are here to support each child in a way that gives them the tools to navigate the rest of their lives in a meaningful and independent manner.

Our team is dedicated to providing resources to better serve you.

If you or someone you know could benefit from our services and resources, please share this post. If you are currently seeking an ABA provider, contact us today to connect with our Community Outreach Team.

Homemade Kaleidoscope

Are you looking for a new activity to inspire creativity from your kiddos? These homemade kaleidoscopes are so fun and easy to make. To learn how to create your very own customizable kaleidoscope at home, follow along step by step!

Kaleidoscope Supplies

  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Hot glue gun
  • Empty cardboard roll
  • Mylar sheets or foil (taped to cardstock)
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Beads, glitter or confetti
  • Clear lip balm container

Build Your Own Kaleidoscope

-Step 1: Adjust the cardboard roll to fit the diameter of the lip balm container.

-Step 2: Glue your favorite scrapbook paper (5.25”x3.75”) to the exterior of the carboard roll.

-Step 3: Create the reflective triangular tube (3.75”x3.35”) for the interior of the cardboard roll.

-Step 4: Insert the triangular tube to make sure it fits snug and there is ¼- ½ inch of space on one end.

-Step 5: Secure the reflective tube by adding a dab of glue to where the three corners of the triangles touch the cardboard roll.

-Step 6: Add beads, confetti, or anything else fun into the lip balm containers.

-Step 7: Insert the lip balm container into the cardboard roll, take a look inside and rotate the end!

And there you have it: a homemade kaleidoscope!

Watch our Tutorial Video Below!

Looking for More Fun?

For more sensory craft activities, visit our Pinterest page!

Join Our Cool Kids Club!

An exclusive online virtual group for kids ages 8-13 diagnosed with autism. This group is show-and-tell format with a weekly theme selected by the Cool Kidz who participate. Some past themes include favorite games, your dream vacation, science experiements, hidden talents, and what is your super power.

Check with your local Cultivate clinic to find out about availability. Register here!

The ABC’s of ABA Therapy (A through F)

Cultivate provides individualized ABA Therapy services to children and adolescents in their homes, our learning centers, and throughout our community. We incorporate a naturalistic approach to ABA and focus on making socially significant changes in the lives of every child and family we meet.

This means we celebrate autism and embrace the diversity it adds to our community. We are here to support each child in a way that gives them the tools to navigate the rest of their lives in a meaningful and independent manner.

We also aim to provide resources to better serve the entire family. In this post, we’re sharing the first in our ABC’s of ABA Therapy series. Explore a variety of free resources on our website including: blogs, parent trainings, ABA Funding guidance, and sensory craft activities on our social media.

The ABC’s of ABA Therapy

A is for Activities on Sensory Processing

Sensory processing is our brain’s ability to interpret stimuli from our environment. We gather information about our environment through the use of our senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. Activities for sensory processing are developed to stimulate these senses. Our Pinterest page is full of craft activities you can do with supplied from around your house!

Visit our Pinterest Page here!

B is for Books and Blogs on Autism Support

Let Cultivate be a resource to you and your family in the New Year. Click here to find the most popular and informational books on Autism.

Cultivate offers many free resources to the community, including parent trainings and support groups, guidance on insurance and diagnostic processes, and referrals to other community services through our Community Outreach team. Many of these resources are available on our website or through contacting your local Community Outreach Coordinator.

C is for Crisis Management

A crisis occurs when immediately available resources are not enough to de-escalate an unsafe behavioral situation. When a situation like this begins, changes to the environment and additional external support may be necessary.

As a parent with a child on the autism spectrum, the thought of Crisis Management may seem like a task too big to handle. Cultivate is here to help. A team of Registered Behavior Technicians in our Apprenticeship Program put together this informative presentation in our Parent Training series.

D is for Data Collection

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is an evidence-based approach for creating significant positive behavior change. In our daily work, as clinicians we collect data on a variety of behaviors.

Learn more about the types of data our clinicians collect and how it’s used in ABA Therapy in our new blog: “Let’s Look at the Data!”

Above all, we keep in mind that we are working with and supporting an individual who is more than numbers and every individual’s path in unique.

E is for Early Intensive Behavior Intervention (EIBI)

Early Intensive Behavior Intervention (EIBI) are ABA programs designed for young children diagnosed with autism. They involve 20-40 hours per week of direct therapy. Children usually start these programs by the age of 3 and receive services for 2 or more years.

At Cultivate, our goal in our EIBI programs is to prepare children to transition into a more traditional school setting with minimal support. So, we focus on social skills, communication, and “learning to learn” skills like listening, transitioning and waiting!

Check out our Getting Started page to learn more.

F is for Family Services

Are you, or a someone you know, caring for a family member with an autism diagnosis? Join us every Thursday from 6:30-7:30 pm Central for our free virtual ASD parent and caregiver support group, hosted by Cultivate Behavioral Health and Education! This parent/caregiver support group is free and open to the community.

For more information, visit our Family Services page.

Family Services Image

Where Your Child Learns Matters.

Our new website makes it easy to search on a national, state, or city level. Find the programs offered and accepted insurances at each clinic location. Helping you navigate the autism treatment journey. Fill out an intake form to start the conversation.

Funding for ABA Therapy

When searching for the right ABA provider, you will have many questions, thoughts, and concerns. Funding – including grants – for ABA therapy shouldn’t be one of them.

Cultivate is here to guide you through the funding and grant maze every step of the way. The following is a list of financial resources for families seeking therapy services. Grant requirements and availability change frequently so we recommend researching these options prior to applying. It may be necessary to apply for multiple grants.

The Cultivate team will do it’s best to keep this list up to date. If you notice something is out of date on this list, please notify us!

ABA Therapy Funding in Florida

Gardiner Scholarship – The Gardiner Scholarship program helps parents individualize the educational plans for their children with certain special needs. The Gardiner Scholarship is different than other state scholarships in that it allows parents to personalize the education of their children with unique abilities by directing money toward a combination of programs and approved providers. These include schools, therapists, specialists, curriculum, technology – even a college savings account.

The application period for 2020-2021 is currently closed, but you can join a mailing list to be notified when the 2021-2022 application period open. Learn more here.

ABA Therapy Grants in Illinois

Chicago Autism Network – Chicago Autism Network is 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families find and afford effective autism therapy and supports. While the Chicagoland area has a wealth of autism service providers, too often families can’t access these services due to lack information and lack of funding.

To help families afford effective therapy, the Chicago Autism Network offers financial aid through their Therapy Assistance Grants. Every fall, families can apply for financial assistance to cover insurance premiums and/or out-of-pocket therapy costs for the following calendar year.

The first year of Therapy Assistance Grants (2019), the Chicago Autism Network offered $10,000 in financial assistance to local families. For 2020, they more than doubled that amount, awarding over $22,000 to families in need. Learn more about the Chicago Autism Network grants on their website.

Autism Hero Project – The mission of the Autism Hero Project in Illinois is to promote autism awareness, change public policy and the way the world does business with a workforce that is intentional about inclusion. 

This group helps those in need by sponsoring medical insurance coverage for children to access Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy to attain the life skills they need to be successful.

The current cycle for ABA funding and grants is closed, but will open back up in Fall 2021. Learn more about the application process at:

ABA Therapy Funding in Kentucky

Michelle P Waiver – The Michelle P. Waiver (MPW) is part of Kentucky’s 1915(c) Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Medicaid waiver program. MPW provides assistance to individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities to help them live in the community as independently as possible.  In 2002 a person (named Michelle P.) sued the state of Kentucky because waitlist for other wavers had exceeded 3,000 people. In 2008 the state agreed to start a new Medicaid waiver to serve individuals in need of services.

For more information about MPW and how to apply visit:

ABA Therapy Funding in Tennessee

Katie Beckett Program – The Katie Beckett waiver is expected to provide financial assistant to about 3,000 Tennessee children with severe disabilities and illnesses. The waiver will use a mix of state and federal funding to cover medical treatment for children with severe disabilities whose families have too much income to qualify for TennCare.

According to the Tennessee Department of Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities, participants will generally fall into one of two levels of service:

  • About 2,700 children with disabilities or complex medical needs will receive up to $10,000 per year in medical medical and home-care services, but would not be enrolled in TennCare;
  • And about 300 children with more significant needs would receive full TennCare coverage and up to $15,000 in services per year.

Families who are interested in applying will be able to fill out a self-referral form on the TennCare Connect website starting on Nov. 23.

ABA Therapy Funding in Texas

Masonic Children and Family Services of Texas – Masonic Children & Family Services of Texas partners with charitable organizations, medical professionals and educational facilities to provide safety, comfort, food, shelter, healthcare and educational services–basic needs every child and family deserves.

Services include, but are not limited to funding for: food, clothing and family services; medical, dental and prescription services; counseling, psychological services and autism therapy; school supplies, tutoring and career counseling; case management and referral services for children, families and agencies. MCFS staff work to ensure that each applicant’s needs are assessed and reviewed on an individual basis. They can also provide information and referral services for all Texas children and families.

ABA Therapy Grants in Wisconsin

United Healthcare Children’s Foundation – UHCCF’s mission is to help fill the gap between what medical services/items a child needs and what their commercial health benefit plan will pay for. UHCCF grants provide financial help/assistance for families with children that have medical needs not covered or not fully covered by their commercial health insurance plan.

Review the criteria to be considered for a grant through the United Healthcare Children’s Foundation by visiting this webpage.

Cultivate Bingo!

Play Cultivate Bingo to win a free lunch on us! Just a reminder that we have call numbers announced weekly. The call numbers are available to view every Tuesday and Friday, starting February 2. 

The last day to check for your winning numbers will be February 19.

How to Play:

  1. Check for the call numbers  
  2. Fill in a horizontal, diagonal, or vertical line of 5
  3. Send us a photo with your winning card to [email protected]
  4. Once confirmed, schedule your lunch!

February 2 Cultivate Numbers!

Cultivate Bingo Feb 2 numbers. B12, N 31, I15, O63, O70
Teaser image for the Cultivate Bingo call numbers on Feb 2. B12, N 31, I15, O63, O70

February 5 Cultivate Numbers!

Cultivate Bingo call numbers on Feb 5. I 28, N 33, B 7, B 1, G 54

February 9 Cultivate Numbers!

Cultivate Bingo call numbers on Feb 9. G49, O62, B3, N41, N45

February 12 Cultivate Numbers!

Cultivate Bingo call numbers on Feb 16. I25, G50, I17, N40, B6

February 12 Cultivate Numbers!

Cultivate Bingo call numbers on Feb 19. N32, I19, O61, B15, N37

Resources to Better Serve You

Cultivate offers many free resources to the community, including parent trainings and support groups, guidance on insurance and diagnostic processes, and referrals to other community services through our Community Outreach team.

Many of these resources are available right here on our website or through contacting your local Community Outreach Coordinator.

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