Our goal at Helping Hands Behavioral Outreach is to help children with Autism and other developmental disabilities further develop social skills, interpersonal skills and self esteem in a unique recreational setting utilizing typical children as peer mentors to model appropriate behavior to our children with autism.

Saturday Socialization Program

The Saturday Socialization Program at Helping Hands, a part of the FREE, Inc. family, is a highly successful peer mediated all day social programs. We have seen kids grow from introverted 5-6 year olds to teens thriving in the community as part of our Team Extreme program. Many of the kids we serve have been with us since we opened the doors nearly 10 years ago. What better testament to our abilities than parents having that kind of faith in us?

We treat each and every participant with the care and concern for safety as we do our very own. We care about all of the children and young people we serve, and put their needs, safety, comfort, and happiness ahead of everything else. While they are having a great time with us in a social skills program, they are learning valuable social skills that they have taken with them to school and in other parts of their lives. Consistently, year after year, we have extremely high parent satisfaction surveys reported to the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities. Our programs are known to be top quality.

Close to 10 years ago, alone and scared, I approached the OPWDD Board, then known as OMRDD, with my proposal for the Saturday program. When I, above thousands of grant seekers, was awarded funding, I was in shock. I was told years later that in addition to my skills and education, it was my passion for helping others that won the committee over. I was most proud of that compliment, and will always be thankful for the belief others have had in me. Now the program is continuing to thrive, and I have the pleasure of seeing the little children we started with blossom into young adults. What a great connection they now have with Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc., the best provider I know for adult oriented services!

I will be forever grateful to FREE, Inc. and Robert Budd, CEO, in particular for believing in my program, and for supporting its growth over the years. The wonderful things we have been doing for families and children with Autism and special needs are too extensive to list.

At the Saturday Socialization Program We:

  • Break kids into groups of similar ages and abilities
  • Include typicaly developing peers
  • Have a variety of center based activities such as (but not limited to): Cooking classes, dance, arts and crafts, art therapy, music therapy, chorus practice, video making, Wii play, bouncy castle play, gym (in a huge multi-purpose room with soaring ceilings), pet therapy, special guests and presentations
  • Have Team Extreme program where our teens and young adults go into the community for pre-vocational opportunities, time to go out to the mall, and generally experience life as a typical teen with trained staff support
  • Provide half day sport oriented programs to promote social behavior in an athletic environment
  • Provide pre-school social skills programming led by a certified Special education teacher certified in birth through elementary school
  • Provide staff that are fully trained in CPR, First Aid, OSHA, Universal Precautions, SCIP, and more
  • Provide staff who have completed and passed full state, federal, criminal and child abuse background checks in the OPWDD system
  • Provide BCBA supervision
  • Provide staff that truly love working with your kids!
  • Have centers in Old Bethpage (just off of Rt. 110), East Setauket and Huntington (5 minutes East of the Village)