What is Checkered Door?
Checkered Door is a program in Barrie that serves local Youth and Young Adults with Intellectual Disabilities and Social Communication Difficulties, who are planning for the transition to adulthood. We provide an array of programs and services to participants and families requiring support to enable youth to take a significant role towards preparing for life outside of the school setting. Through supervised facilitation, social interaction, and positive reinforcement, we focus our group sessions on social skill development, executive functions, and self-regulation, as key areas for growth.
Goals of the Program
Participants will increase independence and develop skill competencies in the areas of functional life skills, self-determination and self advocacy. To achieve these goals, staff strive to provide a holistic approach to life -long learning by offering educational opportunities in key areas such as:
✥ Enable youth with barriers to self determine goals and plans
✥ Facilitate social development and engage in group learning
✥ Educate and practice techniques of emotional regulation
✥ Develop functional skills that increase independence
✥ Foster positive peer interactions and character traits
✥ Participate in life experiences with community partners
All program offerings and service packages aim to improve the quality of life and social engagement for youth and young adults with social barriers in our community. The learning activities, assessments, and practical outings, all have consistent overall outcomes for all participants.
★ Apply an understanding of social norms related to physical presence for the purpose of daily self-care practices and relationship building
★ Identify and utilize self regulation replacement strategies that aim to improve emotional well-being, peer interaction and self efficacy
★ Demonstrate personal accountability to execute shared responsibilities in common spaces, at home and in the community
★ Increase social network and consider multiple perspectives in a variety of settings and contexts, to connect with others
★ Engage socially with peers during group activities that support character development, resilience, and independence
Social Skills Development
In supporting participants in the development of Social Skills, Checkered Door staff will use Social Thinking® Methodology created by Michelle Garcia Winner. The program modules will offer structured social learning activities, derived from Social Thinking® Curriculum, which can be applied to group activities in the classroom, at home and in community settings. Social Thinking® is a term coined by Michelle Garcia Winner, CCC-SLP and represents a flexible, systems-based teaching methodology consisting of curricula, vocabulary, teaching tools, and strategies for individuals aged preschool through adults. Learn more at www.socialthinking.com. At Checkered Door, a sample Social Thinking® application activity would be to observe social interactions using Social Behavior Mapping© therefore increasing understanding of expected and unexpected behaviors in community settings.
Note: This program, including its teacher or leader, is not affiliated with, nor has it been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by Michelle Garcia Winner and Think Social Publishing, Inc.
Executive Functioning for Life
While at Checkered Door, participants will learn strategies that build executive functioning skills. This component of the program focuses on problem solving, self-advocacy, making plans and organizing tasks to completion. Developing executive functioning skills for life enables participants to become more self-aware, adaptable, and equipped as individuals, who gradually increase their independence into adulthood. To support learning these cognitive functions, participants will engage in topics such as; asking for help, disclosing needs for accommodations, managing personal devices, and being flexible with changes in routines or plans. Using evidence-based models for organization and planning support for task completion, goal setting and self assessment. Checkered Door uses a Person Directed Planning Approach and one to one connection time to ensure participants are actively motivated, by attainable goals, that result in success for each individual.
Participants will benefit from continuous training on the Zones of Regulation®, A Curriculum Designed to Foster Self-Regulation and Emotional Control, by Leah M. Kuypers, MA Ed. OTR/L. Assisting individuals to identify emotions and develop the appropriate skills to self-regulate is key to maturing into an emotionally healthy adult. The curriculum uses evidence-based models for organization and planning, support for task completion, goal setting and self assessment. Individuals will participate in learning activities in a small group format and practice/transfer the learning to various environments.
We promote student resilience within our daily exercises by concentrating on developing key character traits that build self-confidence, encourages flexibility, mutual respect, and perseverance. At Checkered Door, we believe that every individual can contribute to sharing space with others in a positive manner. By facilitating and modeling the values of good character and resilience, participants are stimulated to create social networks built upon making a positive contribution in their homes and in the community.
Finally, her development into adulthood had begun!
After years of searching for a program that would benefit and be suitable for young adults with developmental disorders I finally found Checkered Door. Since finishing High School my daughter Jenn tried several programs that were either nothing more than babysitting or geared towards autism rather than developmental disorders. She so badly wanted to acquire adult skills like her siblings but didn't have the tools to do so. Jenn began the program with cautious optimism but quickly became secure. Finally, her development into adulthood had begun! She happily attended her classes and her progress and maturity were notable by all. This program successfully fills gaps between adolescence and adulthood and I can only hope it becomes available across Canada.
Elizabeth Scott, Parent
I am now employed in a job that I love
My name is Jeremy Pieklo, a former student at Checkered Door. I am very fortunate to have learned many skills and tools that help me to manage my adult life. Using “Zones of Regulation”, I am now able to identify my emotions and use the correct tools to self regulate moods. “Social Behaviour Mapping” - the concept of accepted behaviours verses unaccepted behaviours has helped me to learn mature behavioural skills in shared spaces whether it’s going to the mall with my friends, on an outing with my family or going out for dinner or to the movies. One of the greatest things I have learned is how to problem solve a situation. I may still need to ask for help sometimes but I now have a method to try on my own first and make a decision. I also know that I may not get it right the first time but that we are all learning and I am doing my best. As a result of learning and demonstrating these skills, I am now employed in a job that I love, as the main custodian for a local company. The skills I have learned at Checkered Door, continue to help me to be, The Best of Me That I Can Be!
Jeremy Pieklo, Graduate