GIANT Steps is a day-treatment program for preschool-aged children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder either before or at the time of assessment. Our unit has six classrooms with a capacity of 12 children, serving a total of 72 preschoolers and their families (Medicaid & non-Medicaid). We have partnerships with the Alpine, Nebo, and Provo School Districts to provide Special Education services for our students. This relationship allows us to run our program in a typical school environment.
Our program runs Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm. We follow the school district schedule throughout the school year but continue our program until the end of June. During the month of July, we provide a summer program so children are able to continue working on the things they have learned during the school year.
GIANT Steps Pre-School came to Utah County in 1997 as the Children’s Behavior Therapy Unit of Utah County when a few concerned and diligent parents who were driving their children to Salt Lake City on a daily basis procured the funding. The program started out as a coordinated effort between Valley Mental Health, Wasatch Behavioral Health (formerly Wasatch Mental Health) , and the three school districts in Utah County. GIANT Steps received it’s current name when it became exclusive to Wasatch Behavioral Health. Although the relationships between the school districts remain, Wasatch Behavioral Health has complete supervision of staff hiring and training, as well as treatment approaches and implementation. Through the years, GIANT Steps has experienced variable funding but continues to provide quality treatment and results at no cost to families.
We believe that optimum progress is made through an individualized multi-treatment approach founded in a structured routine designed for positive increments of growth. Our goal is to help our children learn through various methods to develop the skills it takes to cope with planned and unplanned changes in routine. Some approaches are used in combination throughout the day and include, but are not limited to:
- Principles of Learning and Behavior Modification such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
- Attending Leveling (taken from “Getting Ready to Learn” model) and Curriculum Progress
- Naturalistic Teaching Principles
- Basic principles of TEACCH (picture schedules)
- Alternative Communication Methods such as simple Sign Language, Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), or Communication Software such as ‘CoughDrop’
- Social Stories
- Behavior Management
- Following Directions
- Applied Social/Interpersonal Skills
- Mental Health and Autism Diagnostic Evaluation
- Pre and Post Developmental Test (PEP-3, CARS-2)
- Psychiatric Services
- Individual and Family Therapy
- In-Program Parent Training (about 1 hour per week)
- Evening Parent Training (2-4 hours per month)
- Parent Support Group (Sponsored by Friends of GIANT Steps)
- Sibling Support Annual Day Camp
- Home visits and treatment (as needed)
- Other family involvement: Date Night, Extended Family Day, Parent Celebration Day
- Case Management Services
- Services to help with your child’s transition to School District Services following graduation.