Picky eating is a prevalent problem for children with developmental disorders (DDs) (Silbaugh et al., 2016). The lack of nutrients and energy resulting from a picky diet can add additional complexities to their life and treatment. The "picky" variable takes many forms. The color, brand, texture, or taste may contribute to a child's selection of food (i.e., a child will only eat foods of a specific color or of a specific brand). Others will eat a variety of foods but will only consume small amounts of food or drinks.
The Shape opened its first adult only day clinic in March 2017. This ranch-style facility sits on five acres of land in Cypress, Texas. It has a three-bedroom house downstairs, and offices for working upstairs giving our adults the best combination and environment for learning, thriving and choice making. We have regularly scheduled outings in the community. Some of the exciting developments based on the interest of our adults in the program include a petting zoo with baby goats, a basketball court and small stand-alone gym, a barn and chicken coup, a garden planted with love for our farm-to-table cooking program, and plans to add a café and game room soon. These plans were inspired by the interests of the adults in our program to make The Shape a place where they can live, work, play and make choices about how to build independence as well as engage and learn throughout the day.
Quality adult programs are few and far between. Often state funded, many of the existing programs have various barriers to providing quality treatment for adults with autism spectrum disorders. Our adults are immersed in a positive environment that promotes independence and honors choice. The Shape adult ABA program provides reinforcment of communication skills and replacement behavior. Individual goals are programmed around the interests of our adults and focused on developing independent leisure skills. Adults with Asperger's syndrome often need help with relationships, independent functioning and job coaching.
By strengthening communication skills and creating a structured schedule that accommodates their developmental levels, clients are given the tools needed to successfully live more independently and be productive members of the community. Research promotes fluency in training specific vocational tasks for adults with disabilities to promote further independence. Quality of life is enhanced when choice, reinforcement and positive interactions occur on a daily basis.