Extra Credit: Helping Hands - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Extra Credit: Helping Hands

By Kym Clark - bio | email | Facebook

SOUTHAVEN, MS (WMC-TV) - A first-of-its-kind early intervention center in Southaven is gathering steam for children with Autism and other developmental delays.

Helping Hands Academy, tucked away inside Colonial Hills Church, is a small program with a mighty goal for children with developmental delays, specifically Autism - early intervention.

Creator and owner Vargas Clarks says, "Without that opportunity to be able to work in a socialized environment to work on those academic skills, it's already putting our kids behind when they go to a typical classroom.'

After working with several other agencies throughout the years, Clark decided to take the challenge and opened the Academy for children ages 1 through 5 years.

According to Clark, "We're trying to teach social skills. With autism, it's not that the child is not able to learn, it's the means in which they learn."

Clark says the Academy employs the methods of Applied Behavior Analysis or ABA, "...and we use different techniques under that, such as: discreet trials, incidental teaching, pivotal response to help get the kids on the level that they need to be on."

The daily schedule at Helping Hands includes floor work, table top work, rigorous potty training, structured outside play, as well as inside social play and plenty of one-on-one instruction with center staff.

Helping Hands also extends beyond the center's walls and into the children's homes. "If the parent is working on just having the child able to sit at the table and eat dinner with them, I go in and we work on that program. If the parent wants to go to a restaurant, we go to those places, as well and we work on those type skills - so consistency is the key," adds Clark.

The Academy plans to hold a "Helping Hands Inaugural Walk for Autism on April 9th to raise money for children with Autism and other developmental delays who might not be able to afford the services offered at the center, as well as enhance the Academy's current educational programs and therapies.

If you'd like more information on that, or Helping Hands Academy go to: www.helpinghandsacademy.net or call (901)216-1486.

Have an idea for a future Extra Credit? Please send Kym Clark an email to: extracredit@wmctv.com.

Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly