FOCUS

blind cane

For information about our Day Programs in Massachusetts contact:

Sherry Lynn MacNeil
M.Ed., BCBA, LABA
Massachusetts Clinical Director
978.602.7405
smacneil@ippi.org

FOCUS is a very specialized community-based day program for individuals who have sensory challenges such as deafness, blindness or deaf-blindness caused by Rubella syndrome, congenital problems or developmental illness. The philosophical bedrock of FOCUS is the recognition that sensory disruptions complicate or interfere with development. Intense and focused emphasis on communication and the establishment of reciprocal interpersonal relationships supports the individual’s in achieving intellectual and social competence and modulating behavioral responses to a confusing and sometimes frightening world. Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is a mode of communication other than speech. It can include low-tech aids such as a picture communication book or a picture activity schedule, or high-tech systems such as voice-output devices. Learning to use “natural gestures,” eye contact, body language and other non-verbal communicative acts opens up social possibilities and permits individuals with sensory difficulties to engage in interpersonal relationships, to make friends, and influence their worlds. Behavioral support utilizing the principles of  Applied Behavior Analysis permits individuals to acquire control over their environment while they reduce behavioral responses such as self-injury that may be harmful to their health, or disruption of the environment that inhibits their access to their communities. The combination of AAC and behavioral treatment in a highly individualized small-group setting makes it possible for people who participate in FOCUS to achieve significant successes in all areas of living. Funding is provided privately or by the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind or The Department of Developmental Services.