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HARRY POTTER/SCIENCE CAMPS/SOCIAL SKILLS GROUPS




SUMMER PROGRAMS

The Building Blocks team have been a crucial part of our son's development! The focus on specific goals needed for an individual child while in a group environment with such positive energy is amazing.  The direction given to the children in an incredibly positive way while a positive way p is helping them to become confident, self reliant.

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For the first time in ages, I felt totally comfortable leaving my son at a Summer Camp. Elaine and Joey and the Building Blocks team took great care in supporting his needs and encouraging his strengths. Science Camp was a great chance to meet and make new friends.

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It was a great opportunity to have a positive experience in a structured environment where his ASD was understood. Great to see the teamwork in the Lego building. Fine motor skills work in the crafts and experiments were good for him.

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Yes, future groups please!!

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Wish that more weeks of camps were offered during the summer, although I know that would be a lot of work.

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Well organized. The leadership roles were clear. I like how my child was also observed and that I will be receiving feedback upon which we can build activities to support and work on skills strengths and deficits. The token system and freezies were a great positive.

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For the first time in ages, I felt totally comfortable leaving my son at a Summer Camp. Elaine and Joey and the Building Blocks team took great care in supporting his needs and encouraging his strengths. Science Camp was a great chance to meet and make new friends.

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My son enjoyed the summer camp very much.  He was eager to go everyday and had lots of fun playing and doing science activities.  The camp had lots of activities and was very well organized.  Maki House is a very good location for summer camp – outside play area, big space, and air conditioned.  Also allowing late pickup really helped with our work schedule.  I would highly recommend this summer camp to other parents.



PEERS - WINTER



EXCELLENT.  Has made a huge change to our lives.  

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     I know we saw results in our immediate family and it was a touching and positive experience to see progress in           the other teens within the group.


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The sessions were very good and were thoroughly enjoyed each week.  She loved coming out and always was concerned about arriving late and missing something.

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The handouts were great, as well as the key terms/phrases, continued repetition of things like "trading information" was beneficial and it works! It is regularly referenced by even the adults!
Group sessions for parents at the same time as the teens was great, learning that we shared common challenges was comforting but most important was the sharing of resources and best practices. Hearing a professional's perspective and/or another parent’s solution to a similar issue provided another avenue of possibility.
Teen recap of what was learned during the evening’s session was excellent as this provided an opportunity to practice their speaking skills in front of a group, further supporting their self-confidence.
Would like to continue another group to keep practicing skills.  Was a great source of support and we must continue!!  Fantastic!

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We plan on continuing calls and get togethers with the other peers in the group whenever possible.  I see the potential for some lasting relationships.

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FALL PROGRAMS


"Our daughter seven year old Molly has been looking forward to Building Blocks Social skills group every Saturday, for the last two years.  In fact, Molly reminds us every week that we can't forget 'playgroup'.  To Molly it's not Social skills instructions, it's seeing her friends and having fun. Meanwhile Molly who is on the Autistic Spectrum Disorder is learning critical social skills that  will benefit her for years to come. Our daughter has grown in confidence, self-esteem and her vocabulary have even expanded as a result of Building Blocks.  I highly recommend Building Blocks to anyone who has a child who help with  social skills."  


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He was initially reluctant to participate because he was adamant that he didn’t like Harry Potter.  He liked The Hobbit and believed he could only like one (or the other).  It has helped him expand his thinking and be more open to trying new things.  I even got a "You were right, Mom".  I also really like how you "disguise" socials skills development.  My son had no idea this camp was about anything but Harry Potter yet he learned a lot over the week about social skills, taking turns, being a good winner, making friends, team building…


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I loved the location of the summer program.  It was a fantastic facility that I thought contributed to the success of the week.

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So often young boys spend time with female teachers, facilitators, therapists, etc… It’s so nice to have Joey as part of your team to be another male influence in their lives.  Elaine, of course, does her usual great job!
Extremely great rapport developed with peers.  Lots of back and forth interactions, really great group!  Wonderful activities organized fantastic use of reward system.  Kids seemed extremely motivated.
"What did you think about the camp?" – I love making fast cardboard racing cars and the egg drop was cool!

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I wanted to say thank you to both of you.  I am very pleased with the progress that …. has made.  I’m especially pleased with the friendships she has developed.  I think this has made a big difference for her.  I believe that the skills she has acquired will help her in her transition (Grade 8) and they have helped with her confidence.  Not so long ago she would downplay her accomplishments and now she is celebrating them!!!  I think that you are doing great work and you should be really proud that you are making such a difference in people’s lives.

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The main value of this program for … has been having a chance to do activities that he really enjoys.  He also seems to like and admire some of the other kids he has met this week.  I think I benefitted from the peace of mind of knowing that Elaine, Joey and Suzanne have an understanding of the social/emotional challenges …. deals with.

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Yes, he had the opportunity to not only socialize with others who understood the challenges but also take on a leadership role that has greatly increased his personal confidence level in dealing with groups of kids.  The leadership was quite good – feedback and parent interaction was constructive and child had nothing but good comments about the leaders.

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…. enjoyed going the camp and was looking forward to it every day.  He made friends and enjoyed free time so much that he wanted to stay there longer.  As usual, it was very well organized.  He liked the experiments, lunchtime with friends (it was a great idea), and the free play outside.

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His interactions with the other kids in the park at the end have impressed me!  Thanks for providing the outline for each day of the camp.  …. Really likes to hear what he will be doing each day before he leaves.

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He is with people that "get" him!

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Summer  Programs:


Cooking Club

I found the cooking club to be an extremely well-planned extra-curricular activity.  The teens had the opportunity to shop for  food they would need to make their meal each day, scan their food at the grocery store, pay and obtain a receipt all important learning experiences for everyday life skills.  They cooked their meals and got to eat them.  They took turns with the table setting, serving of the meal  and somehow Elaine managed to get them to even clean-up! Every aspect of a meal preparation was included in this class.  As I mentioned earlier,  I was very impressed with all the detail that went into the planning process for this class and the amount of fun my daughter had in the cooking club.  Food that was not eaten was brought home to share with family members and recipes that were made in class were sent home the last day. Very impressed and so glad my daughter had the opportunity to partake in this club. My daughter has many times refused to take some other classes in the past, but with this cooking club she not only went -  she went with enthusiasm and came home excited to share what the class cooked that day.
I really hope there will be another one soon!  Thank you so much Elaine Bissonnette for making learning so much fun!
KB


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My daughter was very excited to go to the cooking club and happily went every day.   She looked forward to the shopping, the cooking, meeting new friends and being allowed to take some leftovers home to share with her family.  The part she liked the best was the actual cooking and she certainly was a happy and proud girl when she came home.  She wants to attend the cooking club again, (which is very unusual for her).  As she said "I had so much fun".


I just wanted to take the time to follow up with the three of you and thank you all for going 'above and beyond' all week. I understand how much preparation and thought goes into a program like this. It certainly showed. Erik told me
every day how pleased he was to be doing this. I told him that Elaine might call and follow up with me, and I asked him what he felt were the highlights. He said he loved the atmosphere you created with the music when they came in (from about the second day on). That was a nice touch. It felt fun and welcoming. He also really liked going out shopping.  I asked 'why?' and he said he liked being 'out and about with people'. It was good to see the whole 'food preparation process', and it's always good to get out. He also like the labelled cupboards (as we discussed!) and how organized you three are. We both noticed how enthusiastic you all are. It is obvious that you love what you do. Those kids felt cared for and respected, and that showed.  Erik is already ready to sign up for next year!


Thanks again, you three, for a great week!

TH


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It seems very well organized with the time well-structured and disseminated so the children know and anticipate the requirements and fun.

He was happy to go and excited to share experiences from the day.  A first!!  He also made a new friend.

First rate, as always.

He wishes it were full day (never has said this about any camp); having the time of his life; Epic Camp!!  He has never had a better time at any camp in his entire life.

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Spring Social Skills :

We are very happy with the progress our son has made with the group.     We are encouraged with the skills he has learned and pleased when we see him using these skills at home.   Our goal is help him gain the strategies and skills he will require to help him at school and when he is on his own.

The skills were all transferable from home to school.  If not I do not think we would have received such positive feedback from his teachers.

I think the small group has benefitted my son.  Sessions have provided him with tools to stay focused and on task, turn take and ask appropriate questions.  Most important given him the tools to keep conversations going.



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It seems very well organized with the time well-structured and disseminated so the children know and anticipate the requirements and fun.

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He was happy to go and excited to share experiences from the day.  A first!!  He also made a new friend.

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First rate, as always.

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He wishes it were full day (never has said this about any camp); having the time of his life; Epic Camp!!  He has never had a better time at any camp in his entire life.


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We are very happy with the progress our son has made with the group.  We are encouraged with the skills he has learned and pleased when we see him using these skills at home.  Our goal is help him gain the strategies and skills he will require to help him at school and when he is on his own.

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The skills were all transferable from home to school.  If not I do not think we would have received such positive feedback from his teachers.

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I think the small group has benefitted my son.  Sessions have provided him with tools to stay focused and on task, turn take and ask appropriate questions.  Most important given him the tools to keep conversations going.



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"I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the PEERS Programme that my son (13 years) and myself are participating in.  It has given an opportunity for my son to practice conversation skills and get immediate feed back from his efforts in a supportive and honest manner.  The lessons are easy to understand and can be immediately applied to situations at home and in his own life.  This has given my son the tools to effectively communicate what he is thinking and to measure the responses he receives.   
I would recommend this programme to anyone wishing to improve their social skills regardless of their background or disability."


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We are only 5  sessions (PEERS) in but so far we have really been impressed with her progress.  She is not only understanding the material but also trying to apply it day to day.  Having the parent sessions is a big advantage because we know what skills are being focused on and can help at home as situations arise.  We’re really looking forward to the rest of the sessions.


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I am very pleased with the progress that my daughter is making with her social skills and phone skills.  The parent participation is vital to the success of this program so we can mentor the skills that the group is working on each week.  It's also wonderful to be able to relate to parents who are experiencing the same challenges.  It helps to know, I'm not alone.  I am so grateful that we got into this group.  We both look forward to our Thursday sessions each week.  PEERS has been just what we needed and more than I expected it to be.  Thanks.


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I loved how the kids had a chance to share their opinions and role play.  I think this approach really provided what it took for the kids to understand and apply the tools they were being taught.
He earned an increased confidence level through PEERS.  I think this is in part due to the interaction and role playing during the program.

He loved attending the PEERS sessions, and other than sickness he would not miss a session.  The instructors delivered the enthusiam this program needed in order for it to be successful.  I believe that without a dynamic team leading the program the program would not succeed.  

I especially like how the program broke down the steps, if you will, of getting to know someone.  PEERS really offered the toolset to understand and apply a methodology to making a friend.  Who knew!


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When the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada decided to hold its 35th Anniversary National Conference in Ottawa, without hesitation Building Blocks’ Elaine Bissonnette and Sheri Curkovic were called to help run the Children’s Program.  They offer top notch programming which included ice breaker openers, numerous sensory-filled activities, and an exciting crime scene investigation.  Behavioral challenges were handled with an effective reward system.  Building Blocks continues to be a leader in behavioural services in the National Capital Region!

Kirsten James
Ottawa Chapter Committee Member
Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada   

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Elaine and Sheri have an exceptionally professional approach to developing a fun-filled and educational program for children.
They have a very human, caring, and sensitive approach to working with children.  I would highly recommend Building Blocks to anyone looking for a program conducive to learning, enjoyment, and camaraderie.

Jill Bobula
President, Ottawa Chapter
Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada



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My son loved the science camp with Elaine and Sheri. They plan the very best activities. He asks to go back every year and wonders why they don't have the camp on every school holiday.
We have been very lucky to have Elaine work with both of our sons at home also. She is amazing in not only being super with the kids, but is incredibly compassionate about the needs of the whole family.

Khadija


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My son was 9 when he first took part in a week long summer camp.  Elaine and Sheri were the facilitators. My son at the time wasn't so sure about going to camp for a whole week but after the first day was convinced that this was a great place to come.  He felt very comfortable with Elaine and Sheri and had a blast with all the GREAT activities that they had for the children.
My son is now 11 and is still taking part in camps and social groups with Elaine and Sheri
Thank you both Elaine and Sheri for all your support and hard work with our son.

Jen



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Jacob first started going to social skills groups with you guys in 2009. The beginning of 2010 was the best time we'd ever had with Jacob. We are seeing the same kind of improvements in behaviours again with the current social skills session.

You guys rock.
 Sian


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I really appreciate the feedback over the phone.  It helps us realize areas of strengths and things to work on.


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What a wonderful feeling to be able to drop off my child at a camp and know that the staff know exactly how to take care of his needs in an expert and caring way.

Thank You!

I thought it was a great idea to embed the social skills in fun content learning so it would be similar to a classroom setting.  Also, the kids can say, “I went to science camp this summer” when their peers ask what they did.


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I knew that anything organized by Elaine and her team was well worth the daily drive from our home an hour east of Orleans to Barrhaven for her “African Music Social Club” camp. Matthew’s face beamed with pride when  he showed me his African mask. He also gave me two thumbs way up on the last day during the concert for parents. Matthew reserves his two thumbs up & big smile for the really good stuff – kudos Elaine & team!!!

Katie










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