Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Why choose Summer Social Skills Programs?

I wanted to take a moment to explain the value of our social skills summer camp program, this might help give you a better idea of why it is a fantastic way to spend the summer. I also invite you to come check us our in-center to see for yourself! :) 

After a summer MM, your child will have been set-up for success in a group learning environment; all summer your child will be supported by ABA therapists acting as camp counselors, and will be participating in activities designed to elicit social skills in our learners.The reason our summer program is so successful, is that we maintain a low ratio and ensure that every child has the support he or she needs to thrive in a group setting.

Each week, we target a various social skill which by week's end, should be mastered by each student; some of these goals include initiating and reciprocating social greetings, street safety and community rules, waiting for your turn, learning to share, and using your words to ask. These goals are taken from a social skills curriculum designed to meet the needs of early learners. 

Without the pressure of the academic year, summer is a fun time to target social skill development, including the building blocks there of like imitation skills, listening skills, and ability to stay with the group among others. The majority of our children will continue on into the fall with us in some capacity, to maintain the skills acquired over the summer; this can look like 1 or 2 hours of 1:1 tutoring come the fall (at your place or ours) or it can look like once a week social skill Sundays to keep developing those skills and maintaining the already acquired ones.

A lot of our kids require systematic instruction in order to pick up on the skills that other children develop naturally, with some hard work all of our kids can learn the social rules, and their overall ability to learn within a group environment will improve as a result. Questions or comments? Please call me! We do have 1 or 2 spots left for camp and I wanted to make sure you truly appreciate the value in a program of this nature. If the cost is your main concern, please do not hesitate to discuss this with me and I will try to make it work.

As always, thank you to

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Fantastic Discovery right around the corner

Scouting out our new neighborhood, Billy (that is my Director of Accounts) and I found a huge sensory park three blocks away from our new home in North York. We are super excited to announce that several afternoons this summer will be spend pin-nicing in a FANTASTIC sensory park; the park is inset from the road, in a private area shaded by trees. It is not near  any major roads, and is lined with trees providing an excellent visual reminders of physical boundaries. It could not be more ideal for our learners.

In the park there are two huge structures and three or four smaller ones; each one is taller than the next, and performs one of several motions (spinning, rocking, sliding, swinging and so on). There is one structure that is over 8ft tall; it is a cascading climbing wall that even a grown-up would find enticing. The park is surrounded by tons of grass, perfect for pic-nics and soccer games. The park is amazing because there are activities for children from 3 to 18+ right in the same physical area. I guarantee my employees are going to love the park, and would bet money on at least one of them getting on one of the toys and taking it for a ride (I know I sure did). The majority of the toys require little physical strength and are designed for maximum motion for minimum output; this means that many of our friends with low muscle tone, and poor coordination are still able to participate in an active way.

The second major find in our area, besides the local grocery store and DQ, is a community center and outdoor pool; the next step is to find out whether there is a lifeguard on duty, if so...we will definitely pay a visit this summer once or twice!

Walk Now for Autism Speaks 2011...was a HUGE success

You will find us in BLUE
We raised over $1200 and donations are still coming in. TONS of people turned out to check us out, and we had an amazing time getting to know Toronto's Autism community. Here are some highlights from the event.

Thanks so much to our amazing volunteers, and to everyone who came out to show their support. 

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Big, Exciting, Changes. :)

Big things are happening at MM. This week alone we have made some great purchases, and had some fantastic consultations with local professions. Some of these purchases include a playground, a teeter-totter, a sandbox and 6, yes 6, 42 lb. bags of sand and enough books to fill a library. All in all, it is looking like summer 2011 is going to be a blast!

With schedules being sorted out, and a final round of hiring happening, we are now fully equipped to meet your needs. The first parent training session will be scheduled for September, do not hesitate to get in touch for details. In the meantime, keep raising money for the walk (next Sunday) and enjoy the transition week between school and camp.

If you want to know what we will be up to these next few weeks before camp, here is a look:
-building our play ground
-fencing our playground
-developing individual support plans for each camper
-setting up camp-headquarters, the purple room, our sensory classroom (the turquoise room) and of course, the epic gross motor room (the BIG room)
-organizing and developing materials
-scheduling intake meetings and site viewings
-ensuring overall facility safety and compliance with health and safety regulations
& that is just day one....

P.S. If you have done a summer clean and realized you have extra puzzles, games, books or school supplies, please let us know and we would be happy to take them; anything we cannot use we will donate to a local charity. :) Thanks for paying it forward.

As always, images from

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Congratulations to the Graduates!

Well, as the school year comes to a close one thing is always for certain; teachers are thankful and parents are frightened. "What on Earth am I going to do with him or her ALL DAY for 2 MONTHS?!"; the summer can be a long and difficult transition for any child, when consistency and routine are done away with.

There are many ways parents can help ease the stress, including talking openly and honestly about what happens during the summer months, including giving sufficient notice for major events like vacations, planned absences, major family gatherings  and so on.

Parents often forget how important consistency and sameness are to their spectrum children; in my perspective, your daily structure should not necessarily alter that drastically in the summer (from the academic year), but there should certainly be an obvious summer theme to all your child's learning and adventures. Plan activities for functionality and relevance to your child's interest to maximize his or her chance of having meaningful interaction with the materials; it seems obvious, but it is the small things that make all the difference. Summer is a time to relax, have some fun and play outside; but remember rules are rules, no matter the season!

It is not too late to join the first official graduating class of Magnificent Minds; visit us online or call us today to arrange a tour of the facility.

As always, photos from

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Camp Schedules are now complete! Want a sneak peak?!

9:00-12:00 AM

Arrival & Transition Play
Goal: Choice making + socialization
Purple Room
Good Morning Circle
Days of the week, months of the year, who is here today, talk about theme: ice cream! Sing theme songs
Purple Room
Daily Physical Activity: Team Game
Morning Yoga
Gross Motor Room or Outside
Purple Room or Outside
Sensory Science
Choice Experiment: favourite flavours!
Sensory Room
Story time & Hands-On Learning
Social Story and Re-enactment: Waiting is hard!
Purple Room
Lunch & Recess
Purple Room, Outside
1:00-3:20 PM

Arts and Crafts
Model Magic Ice Cream Cones
Purple Room
Music Circle
Goal: Choice making
Sensory Room   or Outside
Sensory Science
Field Trip: Dairy Queen
Sensory Room or Outside
Gross Motor Games
Field Trip: Dairy Queen
Gross Motor or Outside
Dismissal & Transition Play
Purple Room or Outside

Week 2 of Social Skills Camp is all about ice cream! YUM! Our social theme of the week is "Why Wait"; all week we talk about ice cream in our hands-on learning units, and at the end of the week we get a special surprise, a trip to the ice cream parlor! Our campers will learn that though waiting can be hard, it pays off in the end.

We will explore various sensory aspect of ice cream, hot vs. cold, and engage in social skill building games based on our academic themes. We will expand our fine motor skills in various tasks aimed at recreating the ice cream shape, with various household items including cotton balls and coloured rice. Our campers will expand their imaginations with hands-on learning and plenty of opportunities for choice making. We always keep things fresh, by switching up our themes weekly and ensuring that we are always raising the bar for our campers. For more information, call us today! 647-404-6349

as always, images courtesy of