Brady has been at the ChildBridge Center for Education for about two years, but in 2022 he started to really THRIVE.

The ChildBridge Center for Education launched the new THRIVE program in 2022 to recreate a more fully integrated and encompassing environment to cater to the students with the greatest needs. Brady is part of the first group of seven students in the program and has blossomed in the early stages, showing substantial improvements in life skill development, academics, and behaviors.

“Maladaptive behaviors are a common issue with students in the THRIVE program and we have already seen big improvements from everyone,” said Phil Siegel, school principal. “Just a year ago it would be hard to think Brady could move into a CILA setting after school, but because of the huge strides he has made that is a very reachable goal now.”

In Brady’s case, a combination of maladaptive behaviors and dependency on tablet usage hurt his ability to learn, transition, and interact with staff and students. But the new and recreated environment that the THRIVE program provides has been the key to unlocking his potential.

Unlike traditional classrooms, the THRIVE program utilizes a double classroom so students can learn and use sensory resources at the same time, allowing them to continue engaging with the class work while also having the vital tools for social and emotional regulation on hand.

Classrooms are also capped at four students each and there are five core staff members such as teachers and paraprofessionals along with a rotation of Board-Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) and other specialists to keep each student supported and engaged throughout the day.

Brady, who started at ChildBridge Center as a community-based student, also made the move to the residential program, giving him the full spectrum of what the THRIVE program can offer.

This is what your generosity does for individuals with the greatest needs…recreating this integrated environment for each to THRIVE.

“While we take great pride in the work we do with our community-based students, there is a continuum of care we can achieve with our residential students and an added opportunity to work with them,” Phil said. “The THRIVE program really bridges that gap between school and residential and the student has that extra support throughout the day.”

Little City’s THRIVE program is the first of its kind in the state, delivering educational and residential services to children and young adults who are at risk of needing to leave the state for services or on track for a State Operated Developmental Center. It has already gained the notice of state departments and leaders who hope the program can expand and serve as a template for others.

“The state of Illinois does not have the capacity needed to serve these children,” said Rich Bobby, Senior Chief Program Officer, Children’s Services. “This is not going to happen overnight, but the reality is we need to be part of the solution and my hope is to stop the pipeline to state institutions and out-of-state placements.”

If Brady is any indication, the THRIVE program will make life-changing differences for students for years to come.

“Brady’s academic stamina has substantially increased. There was a time when even trying to transition away from the iPad would trigger behaviors, but today Brady is engaged at school and learning at a whole different rate than he used to,” Phil said. “The goal is to have these students succeed in the least restrictive environment possible and Brady will be out of the THRIVE program and in a less restrictive environment before he graduates, no doubt about it.”

When you donate, this is the integrated and life-changing environment that you help recreate for individuals with the greatest needs. Thank you for always supporting our students and enabling them to THRIVE all year long!

37 children with autism and other developmental disabilities are learning and growing at the ChildBridge Center for Education – and in 2022 alone, 10 individuals graduated from the Day School, helping them take the next step as adults to continue a lifetime filled with success.