Thanks to an $81,600 grant from the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), children with the greatest needs will be supported like never before through intensive interventions. The Birch Home, located on Little City’s Palatine campus, will get a significant makeover thanks to the grant that will allow children with autism and developmental disabilities to live in a dynamic and safe environment where they can begin to achieve new goals.

The most significant improvements in the renovation will be additional bedrooms and sensory and de-escalation rooms in the home. By giving each individual a personal bedroom and dedicating space for sensory stimulation and emotional regulation, maladaptive behaviors can greatly decrease — as evidenced by the successful model of the newer homes in the Duffey Family Children’s Village on campus.

Additional upgrades will include all-new LED lighting and bluetooth speakers for ambient light and sound, renovations to one of the bathrooms and safety enhancements to windows, doors and the overall environment. Everything is designed to decrease maladaptive behavior and increase skill acquisition and independence.

Little City’s Chief Development Officer Jayne Drew said it is exciting to be able to implement the Duffey Family Children’s Village model in an older home that will help those with the greatest needs.

“The ability to provide specialized services and environments to children with intensive needs is crucial in helping them reach their full potential. This grant will allow Little City to transform their home into a truly dynamic environment,” she said. “When we meet children where they are, we see how they can grow and learn and achieve things they didn’t realize they could do.”

The home is part of an overall high-intensity program specifically designed to reach children with the greatest need. The program brings together Little City’s Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA), home staff and school staff for a 24/7 support system focused on collaborative approach to skill development. While Birch Home will be the first to fully utilize the program, it is expected to expand so homes can continue to be designated to meet the level of need for each child.