Children birth to age 3
Physically Disabled nec
The FIT program utilizes a family-centered, early intervention approach in meeting the needs of children, from birth to three years of age, who have a developmental disability or have been identified as being at risk of having developmental delays.
Therapists provide services in the family's home. Services include Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Early Childhood Education. Toddlers graduate or "age out" of the program on their third birthday.
The influence that the FIT Program has on the lives of the families enrolled is illustrated in just one of our many success stories. Laradon's FIT Program team began providing services to Paula's two year old great granddaughter, Sierra, when she was four months old. Sierra was born almost two months early due to prenatal exposure to drugs and alcohol and without her mother receiving any medical care before her emergency birth. After over a month in the hospital, she was released into Paula's care. Sierra was a very fussy infant who had trouble eating, sleeping and gaining weight. She had many episodes of her entire body shaking violently, alarming Paula.
During the weekly home visits through the FIT Program, Laradon's Occupational Therapist (OT) showed Paula positioning and infant massage techniques to help Sierra become calmer and more focused so she could eat, sleep, and begin to gain weight. The OT also shared fun ways for Paula to help enhance Sierra's overall development, such as tickling and singing games during bath time. The OT was able to provide parent training handouts that were especially designed for adults with low literacy levels. In addition to supporting Paula in learning ways to help Sierra function better on a daily basis, Laradon's OT helped Paula access community resources and fill out forms for benefits to help improve her financial situation. Sierra is now a happy, healthy toddler who never walks when she can run. She is learning to talk and her favorite words are "hug", "no", "mine", and "puppy". Paula has officially adopted Sierra and her brother and often states how grateful she is for the help she received from Laradon.
Children ages 5 to 21
Disabled, General or Disability unspecified
The Laradon School offers state-of-the art academic and behavior services for school age children from birth to 21 years of age, with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The Laradon School is accredited by the Colorado Department of Education as an Eligible Facility School. The Colorado Department of Human Services licenses The Laradon School as a Day Treatment program. All teachers and service providers are certified and licensed professionals who strive for a comprehensive understanding of each student through conscious and careful study. Person centered thinking is first and foremost, which highlights our belief that all students are capable of learning and establishing and maintaining social relationships.
Referrals are received by Laradon through the out-of-district offices of Colorado public school districts. We provide a curriculum that utilizes a functional approach to teaching academics, life and vocational skills as well as providing the mental health services and behavioral support the students require. Therapeutic services include psychology, both individual and group, music education, Speech and Language Pathology, Occupational Therapy, Adaptive Physical Education and computer technology. Once students reach 21 years of age, or return to the public schools, they graduate. The goal for each student is to return to their home schools within 3-4 years of receiving services from Laradon.
A few years ago, Mario had frequently high behaviors at his home school that got in the way of his learning, risking his own safety-and that of others. The 13-year-old has a developmental disability that sometimes caused frustration and aggression when he felt unable to communicate his needs.
After working with Laradon's highly trained behavior specialists, Mario has made many strides. He can now go several weeks demonstrating safe behaviors; he no longer expresses anger by destroying property at school. In fact, Mario has been celebrating many academic successes, including growth in reading, writing, and math.
His teachers are thrilled at Mario's progress and are preparing him to transition back to his home school to learn among his peers and let his fun personality shine.
"Mario has come a long way with Laradon's help. He's made great improvements and has excelled academically." - Bob Elskamp, Laradon Special Education Teacher
Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
People/Families with of People with Developmental Disabilities
People/Families with of People with Disabilities
People/Families with of People with Psychological Disabilities
This therapeutic program, offering the highest levels of individualized care, is designed to assist youth and their families to resolve social, emotional, and behavioral problems so they can return to their home or community. It provides 24-hour residential services to youth ages 11-18, who have identified intellectual or developmental disabilities. Once at Laradon, staff perform assessments to develop behavioral intervention plans designed to reinforce appropriate behaviors.
16-year-old Rose was the very first student in Laradon's brand new program, the
Calabrese Youth Center, which opened in February of 2019. If the Calabrese Youth Center
had not opened when it did, she would have been sent to an out-of-state institution,
leaving behind the many connections and relationships she had made in her community.
Rose has been in foster care since she was five years old and has dealt with a lot of
change and inconsistency in her life. Her contact with family is limited, which is why the
relationships she had established over the past few years at a local church in Aurora are
so important to her and essential to her success.
Since arriving at the Calabrese Youth Center, Rose's team has been working with her
on communicating her needs verbally instead of expressing them through aggressive
outbursts. Her staff has noticed that over time, she more often tells a staff person when
she needs something or wants space, instead of defaulting to a behavior.
"What I really love about the Calabrese Youth Center is our one to one ratio of staff to
residents, which ensures that individual needs and goals are being met," said Tina Franco,
CYC Case Manager.
Although she wants to be adopted by a family someday, the Calabrese Youth
Center is currently able to provide her with stability and access to important
Blind & Vision Impaired
Laradon's Adult Day programs utilize Laradon's expansive Denver campus, as well as a broad variety of off-campus community sites to provide learning opportunities, skill-building activities, as well as self-sufficiency building activities. The overarching goal of this department is to develop meaningful and on-going social relationships, promote independence in all aspects of decision-making and daily living tasks, as well as to explore new opportunities for learning and growth through all stages of an individual's adult life, regardless of their developmental disability. Specialized programs in this department are designed to accommodate and support specific challenges an individual might face as they strive to achieve their full potential.
Most of us take for granted something seemingly simple like choosing the direction in which we travel. For Evelyn, the act of making those decisions and getting herself where she needs to go is extremely empowering.
Evelyn uses an electric wheelchair to get around. She needs to improve her dexterity in order to use the controls. This is a goal that Evelyn has identified that is important to her, with the support of her Laradon team.
Support staff have discovered that Evelyn learns similar skills while engaging with adaptive technology and sensory equipment in Laradon's new Learning Center.
"We find it beneficial to bring Evelyn to the Learning Center because the iPads actually help her use her wheelchair better. The technology requires the same principles to use," said Romey Manzanares, Laradon Program Employee. "Plus, Evelyn enjoys it!"
Laradon staff supports Evelyn to identify her own goals and support her to get there. It's this person-centered thinking that differentiates Laradon and helps Evelyn, and many others, succeed.
Blind & Vision Impaired
Laradon's Community and Employment Services (CES) Department offers a wide variety of services that are tailored to fit individual employment and community inclusion goals of adults with developmental and other disabilities. Participation is based on the needs and choices of each individual.
Work programs focus on skill acquisition, job search and retention. The focus of community participation is volunteer work and involvement in other valued aspects of community life.
Individual Employment Program:
The Individual Employment program provides support and training to adults with developmental disabilities or any other disabilities to obtain and maintain employment in the competitive labor force.
These services are provided to participants on an individualized basis and vary depending on their need for support. Job Placement Assistance matches individuals with their employment goals. Laradon's on-site job coaching ensures that outside employment requirements are met. Laradon's continued guided support structure ensures both the potential employee and employer maintain satisfaction and ultimate success.
Laradon Work Teams, or enclaves, are crews of hard working individuals seeking employment opportunities in the Denver Metro community, supervised by Laradon staff members.
Work Teams provide competent, willing and dependable workers whose talents and skills ensure successful and timely job completion. Laradon provides ongoing supervision at the community work site. Classes and facilitated group discussions occur each day prior to start of work.
Katie began working at the Denver Zoo nearly four years ago at the Brown Bear restaurant as a busser through Laradon's Employment Programs. Since then, she's worked her way up to "the line" - meaning she works behind the counter using the cash register and taking drink orders.
"I like that I get to talk to people," said Katie, "It helps me feel more comfortable having conversations." Katie is a hard worker full of energy and ambition - she loves to attend gym classes, volunteer, and make her own jewelry.
Katie's dream is to one day open her own flower shop. She has taken several steps towards reaching this goal like attending a six-week floral design class earlier this year that helped her learn the ins and outs of the industry. She even had the opportunity to help design floral arrangements for a co-worker's wedding. She's hoping to take this knowledge and the job skills she's gained from her current employer to find a job at a local flower shop where she can continue to learn.
"I like working with flowers, and I love the smell of flowers in the morning," said Katie. Laradon's Employment Programs continue to be an important element in Katie's growth by being a consistent resource for job trainings, employer management, and professional development opportunities.
Laradon's Adult Host Home program provides individualized living situations to participants who can benefit from living in the private home of a family or individual. Participants enjoy living in a family setting, engaging in community activities and sharing household responsibilities. Host Home Providers create a caring support system and assist the individual with personal care, meals, finances, medical appointments and community connections.
Independent Host Home Providers contract with Laradon to provide comfortable and healthy environments that are appropriate to a participant's needs. Providers view the positive capabilities of the individuals in their home and help the person have a normal a life as possible. Providers help to assist with medication administration, health and medical services, domestic skills, personal hygiene, money management, recreation, leisure and community involvement. Laradon provides consistent training, monitoring, consultation and support to providers and the participants in their care.
Michael first came to Laradon in early 2018 from a youth residential institution in Colorado. Laradon's Community Living Program staff had worries about enrolling him in the Host Home program based on his lengthy history of maladaptive behaviors like physical aggression, property destruction, and elopement.
In addition to these worries, his staff tried numerous times to get him into behavioral services, but because he was under 21 years old, he required EPSDT (Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment) behavioral services, and none could be found. Despite this unique challenge, Laradon enrolled him, and he acclimated incredibly well to his new environment in a home as opposed to an institution.
He and his new Host Home Provider, Christine Silitonga, have a great relationship where she provides opportunities for community access and learning experiences for living skills like cleaning, cooking, and doing laundry. In the past year, with no behavioral services, this young man has exceeded every expectation anyone had of him, become an excellent self-advocate, and finished school. He graduated with his diploma in May 2019 and has chosen to enter the work force.
When asked what he liked most about his Host Home, Michael said, "Being able to keep my freedom." Now that Michael is thriving in his new environment, he can focus on continuing his path to independence and learning job skills that will lead to employment.