Out of all the therapy interventions that we have done with our son, B.L.A.S.T. has made the biggest impact. Lisa and Margie understand the spectrum of issues associated with kids who have social challenges and they have amazing resources for helping our family to help Liam. He gets practical training in a fun environment and looks forward to his B.L.A.S.T. days. A classmate of Liam's recently asked him what B.L.A.S.T. was and he responded "It's where I go to learn about making friends." Three years ago he was unable to process a question like that, much less to answer it. Thank you B.L.A.S.T.!
I might add that the support group of parents that I have met while dropping off, waiting for and picking up my son at B.L.A.S.T. has been invaluable. It is the only place I know that everyone else in the room knows exactly the kinds of daily challenges we live with and the unique heartache and worries we have with our "quirky" kids. Margie and Lisa have been great about introducing us to each other and making recommendations about gaining insight from each other when particular issues (like I.E.P.'s)
Over the past few years we have contemplated relocating a couple times. One of the deciding factors in our decision to stay in South Florida is B.L.A.S.T.. These women need to clone themselves!
- Sarah Shanley & Liam (7 years old)
B.L.A.S.T. provides an essential complement to all the other therapies that contribute to our son's success. The curriculum focuses on social awareness and offers opportunities for positive practice. My son loves coming to B.L.A.S.T.. He is making friends and is learning life skills that are so important. These crucial lessons are not taught in school and almost impossible for parents to teach effectively. I am so grateful for the expertise and insight B.L.A.S.T. offers. I would recommend this group whole heartedly and without reservations.
- L. Cabrera & Aaron (9 years old)
Our experience at B.L.A.S.T. has been nothing short of AWESOME! My son has learned how to monitor his own emotions and use strategies, such as deep breathing, to calm himself down. He has also made new friends and has learned what 'being a friend' really means. Most of all, the support that he and I have received at B.L.A.S.T. has been such a great help. There have been times that I have felt completely alone in my quest of helping my son to have the wonderful life that he deserves. However, since coming to B.L.A.S.T., Lisa and Margie have been amazing in their assistance of helping me to understand and even more importantly, appreciate my son for the fantastic child that he is. They are constantly on the 'lookout' for methods and strategies to implement at home, community, and school that will help Shawn cope with the frustrations, challenges, and changes of everyday life. This program is fantastic!
- Stephanie and Shawn (8 years old)
Hannah loves B.L.A.S.T. and she enjoys going, but it’s the things she says that confirm how much she’s learned at B.L.A.S.T. and how it really comes in handy. For example, Hannah & I were in Publix one day and I got upset over something. Thanks to her training, she diffused the situation and taught me a thing or two. I’ve also heard her talking to her brother about bullies; what they do, why they do it, and what to do about them. Thanks again for all you do and for the knowledge, special training and dedication you give our children.
- Barbara M. and Hannah (7 years old)
B.L.A.S.T. has been an invaluable resource for our son. We strongly believe that thru his sessions, Christian has acquired the tools he needs to improve socially. How grateful we were to all the help we have received in B.L.A.S.T. when we saw our son take the necessary measures to look for help when he found himself lost in Disney World. We are truly blessed!
- Rolando, Yolianne and Christian (10 years old)
My son has speech and language deficits, as well as some developmental delays. He’s a very sweet boy who tends to be withdrawn and anxious in social situations. In addition, he has an older brother on the autism spectrum, who does not provide an appropriate role model for social interaction. B.L.A.S.T. has given my son the opportunity to practice his social skills in a safe environment, challenging him to participate in conversations and games with his peers, while teaching him specific tools to be successful socially. Because of the skills he has practiced at B.L.A.S.T., he is now more confident and outspoken at school, and has started having regular playdates with several of his classmates. When I see my son walk into a room and be greeted by his friends, I see all the progress he has made because of B.L.A.S.T. This program is a unique resource for children who suffer from anxiety and social skills deficits like my son’s.
- Beth W. (10 year old son)
Before my son, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, started attending group sessions at B.L.A.S.T., he had significant social deficits, and was unable to maintain any real friendships. He would monopolize conversations, pay no attention to the person he was speaking to, wander off topic, make insensitive comments, and turn and walk away while the other person was still talking. He was rigid and inflexible in social situations, and unable to compromise or problem solve when a conflict arose with a peer. He was also subjected to teasing. B.L.A.S.T. has provided him with specific guides for appropriate behaviors in all these areas, and directed him in trying these skills with his peers in the group. Many of the issues he has covered in B.L.A.S.T. were things we were already working on at home, but children like my son need to learn from concrete examples, and with a lot of practice. In all these areas, he has made so much progress that I would not have believed it if I had not lived through it all with him. Our entire family has benefited from the improvement in his behavior. He now has a real best friend, and is making more friends (including girls) in his middle school classes. I wish every child on the autism spectrum had access to a program like B.L.A.S.T., and the earlier the better. It is exactly the kind of social training they need, and it really works.
Beth W. (13 year old son)