Our Group leaders have knowledge and experience in teaching, counseling, speech language therapy, and special education, and participate in an intensive training program with the directors prior to camp. The camp directors and program managers are present across the day to supervise and support our campers and leaders.
Jenny Gorton-Sojat is a speech-language pathologist who works primarily with children and teenagers to foster social success at home and at school. Before moving to Vancouver, Jenny worked at the Center for Social Thinking under the direct supervision of Michelle Garcia-Winner (the founder of Social Thinking). Jenny spoke at the 2014 Social Thinking Provider’s Conferences in San Jose, CA and in Richmond, BC about strategies she has developed. During the school year, she runs Social Thinking groups in West Vancouver and in Surrey, consults to schools and school districts, and volunteers on the Canucks Autism Network Program Committee. She believes that kids learn best when they are having fun!
Kathryn oversees the behavior support needs of Summer Social's clients and staff. She is a Registered Clinical Counselor who holds a Master of Science in Applied Psychology from Long Island University. Kathryn works with school-aged children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families and supervises graduate students pursuing related careers. Kathryn also instructs 1:1 support workers at Surrey College, co-directs SOAR Inclusive Preschool at the Goodlife Family Autism Hub in Richmond, and manages a private behavior consultation practice in Vancouver. She is a frequent speaker at community organizations for families and professionals who diagnose, teach, and care for individuals with ASD.
Haley is a Registered Speech-Language Pathologist who received her Masters degree in Speech Sciences from UBC in 2006. After graduation, she worked in a variety of school settings and as a private practitioner. Haley has experience working with the preschool, school-aged, as well as young adult populations. She enjoys both the assessment and treatment processes in the areas of articulation, language development, literacy, and social communication. During the school year, Haley runs social groups under Jenny’s supervision in West Vancouver.
Crystal works as a social skills therapist under the supervision of Jenny Sojat. Crystal completed her M.A. in Autism Studies through the University of Kent in Canterbury in 2012 under the supervision of one of the UK’s leaders in social skills research, Julie Beadle-Brown. Her thesis focused on social skills therapies in educational environments, examining the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches and treatment packages. Most recently, in spring 2013, Crystal completed her BCBA certification with coursework from Pennsylvania State University and supervision under ABLE Clinic’s Katie Allen. Crystal has gained experience and training in Social Thinking groups under Jenny Sojat and has participated as a camp leader in their Summer Social Summer camp since 2010 and as a camp supervisor for them in 2014-present.
Summer Social camp teaches concepts from the “Social Thinking”* curriculum, which targets understanding oneself and others, acting on that understanding, and connecting more meaningfully with people in our lives. Pioneered by Michelle Garcia Winner, it is an internationally recognized approach to working with individuals with social cognitive deficits.
*Social Thinking refers to our innate ability to think through and apply information to succeed in situations that require social knowledge. Social thinking is a form of intelligence that influences our ability to learn concepts and integrate and apply socially relevant information. More information on the Social Thinking approach is available at www.socialthinking.com
Matching campers well plays a major role in our program’s success. Campers are assigned to small groups containing up to 4 campers. Group composition is determined by many characteristics such as grade, age, cognitive functioning, perspective-taking ability, language development, coping skills, interfering behaviors, and motivation. Each pod has one or more leaders responsible for lesson preparation and delivery, along with facilitating activities and games.
HIGHER NEEDS CAMPERS
Summer Social offers a behavior support program for campers with significant behavioral and/or learning needs. The higher needs program runs concurrently with the regular camp session. Children requiring behavioral support are assigned a 1:1 behavioral interventionist AND matched into a small group of peers with a skilled group leader.
Behavioral interventionists have prior experience on ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) home teams, in addition to the training and supervision required for all Summer Social staff. Behavior support plans are developed and supervised by Kathryn Theroux, Summer Social co-director and board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA), in collaboration with the child's private behavior consultant when possible. Would my child benefit from 1:1 support?
We believe that progress depends on caregiver involvement. It is important that parents and other caregivers learn the concepts and strategies along with their children to support their use of new skills at home and school. Although parents are not permitted to observe group therapy sessions, opportunities for parent volunteers are available; please let us know if you are interested.