What drives us at Verbal Beginnings? Seeing lives changed. Seeing kids and families change. Seeing ourselves change. This is what motivates us and what pushes us on to make better programs, to become better people, and ultimately, make the world a better place. If you somehow missed it, this spring we celebrated the grand opening of our brand new center in Columbia, MD. A from-scratch build out that let us really dream and work together with all our partners to bring to reality. But now that the dust has – literally– settled, I wanted to share a few thoughts on “the big why” behind all that we do.
The Why Behind the What
First, we love a good success story where a child’s life is significantly altered by the therapy we are able to provide. One story, in particular, stands out that I also shared at our ribbon cutting: we began working with a child who had no vocal language when we first met him. After just 6 months of Applied Behavior Analysis therapy, he was able to vocalize thousands of words and started stringing words together into sentences. The most touching instance of this was the moment that child was able to say “I love you” to his parents for the first time. That’s a pretty big “why.”
Nationally, 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), although in some counties that number is much higher. Because of this, we have a duty in our community and the surrounding areas to spread awareness and provide help in any capacity that we are able when it comes to ASD.
The Center Isn’t “New”
We initially opened our first Verbal Beginnings Center’s doors in 2016 after doing in-home ABA therapy for the previous 5 years. After a year we found our first center was near maximum capacity. Space became very tight and we began to realize that in order to better serve the community, we had to return to the drawing board to figure out what a Verbal Beginnings Center 2.0 would look like; A center that would not only hold all the great work of the present, but that would be big enough for the same quality of care in the future… only bigger.
Our goal was to create an interactive, fun, and social environment where kids and families could flourish while working with our staff. But this flourishing was never intended just for our kids and families… but for all our employees as well. From the expanded conference and learning spaces to the interactive room layouts and work areas, our focus is on developing our staff holistically (not just academically). The space is as much for them as it is for our kiddos. With all these goals in mind, we just knew we needed to grow our space.
Fast forward to April 4, 2019, at 11am in the morning.
Together with Co-CEO Nick, our staff, State and County officials, partners, and friends, we officially cut the ribbon on the new center, nearly 3x bigger than our first! Since then we’ve had an open house and welcomed tons of VB families and the community to the new center to really experience the role of the space itself in our total approach to treatment. This new space is special, and the reactions from families and friends of Verbal Beginnings reflects that.
We are thrilled to continue helping the ASD community as a whole through the science of Applied Behavior Analysis, but we know there is more work to still be done. We look forward to the countless memories that are going to be created in this space while continuing to go places together with the children, families, and professionals who are part of this story with us.
To everyone that’s been part of the Verbal Beginnings Adventure: Thank You!
(PS: Make sure you check out the virtual tour here on Facebook)
Written by Diana Wolf, MA, BCBA, LBA, Founder and Co-CEO of Verbal Beginnings