The Alexis Miranda Foundation Social Groups are peer groups designed to strengthen the social interaction and communication skills of children, teens, and young adults with autism spectrum disorders. Age appropriate activities are used to support the development of friendships and to build interests in different leisure activities.
FIELD TRIPS THROUGH ANDOVER BUDDY TRIPS
Recently, we have partnered with Andover Buddy Trips and the Andover Youth Services to support individuals living with Autism. Andover Buddy Trips is a community service program that runs field trips for special education students at Andover High School and their typically developing peers. Through this partnership; our goal is to extend the services to the wider Andover community and neighboring towns.
Many students in the population we serve spend most of their school day in very structured settings, sometimes with a one-on-one teacher or support staff. They have limited or no opportunity to socialize with their peers in non-academic settings. Andover Buddy Trips will to provide students the opportunity to socialize with their peers outside of school and explores new things.
MUSIC THERAPY THROUGH MY OWN VOICE
Alexis Miranda Foundation has partnered with My Own Voice which is affiliated with the Treble Chorus of New England, TCNE, to offer music therapy to children and youth living with Autism and other disabilities. TCNE uses music as a medium to provide children with an understanding of, and appreciation for diversity both among and between cultures. One of the principal activities of TCNE is to foster a sense of community through singing in an ensemble and providing performances that enrich and educate our audiences. We do this by offering a variety of age and developmentally appropriate programming and performances accessible to all.
“My Own Voice, MOV, began as a pilot program in 2011 with the goal of making choral music accessible to all. This program was designed for children and young adults with significant special needs. Choristers from our typical choirs provide mentoring support at rehearsals for My Own Voice participants. My Own Voice choristers have autism, down syndrome, spina bifida, cerebral palsy and other conditions which can significantly limit the availability of “normative” positive learning experiences. My Own Voice normalizes a part of our participant’s lives. It allows the choristers to do something that typical kids do. As a parent of a special needs child, I am committed to providing opportunities not only for my family, but for our communities. It is our hope that we can make My Own Voice available to the Commonwealth and beyond.”
THERAPEUTIC HORSEBACK RIDING THROUGH IRONSTONE THERAPY, INC.
Alexis Miranda Foundation has partnered with Ironstone Therapy, Inc. at Ironstone Farm to provide therapy using a horse. Doctors refer a variety of clients, including those on the autism spectrum, because it can lead to improved social interactions. Top doctors and medical institutions refer clients to Ironstone because of its success. Progress is carefully monitored, documented and sent to the referring physician or agency monthly. Riding a horse simulates people’s normal walking movements, encouraging strengthened trunk control, improved balance and coordination, normalized muscle tone and increased stamina. Ironstone farm uses the dynamic power of horseback riding and the environment of a farm to combine several therapies into one highly effective experience.
Children with special needs learn to walk. People who did not speak before – including those on the autism spectrum – begin speaking. Additional therapeutic programs improve the lives of others, including veterans who have experienced trauma, survivors of cancer, teens at risk, young adults with special needs who can benefit from learning life skills, and elders with memory issues. Going to the 18-acre horse farm, rather than an impersonal clinic, makes therapy a “want to” event rather than a “have to” session.