Mitra Ahani, MA, CCC-SLP
It is with great pleasure that we open the doors to Thrive Therapy Center in San Jose, California. Thrive has been a vision 14 years in the making – a space that has been designed to facilitate and promote communication, sensory regulation, engagement, and happiness. It isn’t your typical speech, OT, and ABA center. We took great care in designing a space that is warm and welcoming to parents, clients, and staff. The illuminated colorful balls that hang from the ceiling, the assortment of swings, the trampoline and the comfy oversized lime-green bean bags make it a cheerful, uplifting space. Not surprisingly, it doesn’t take long for engagement to begin. Our staff encourage the clients to explore the space and choose an environment that is comfortable and motivating for their therapeutic session. Everyone quickly learns what is motivating and what environment and activity suits them, and structure is built in naturally. It is clearly their space to indulge, play, learn, socialize, and develop. It is very rewarding to see wide smiles and kids enthusiastically pulling on the big double glass doors to enter. They know this is their place.
Yes, Thrive Therapy and Social Center is a therapeutic center, but it is much more than that. Part of therapy is learning how to be happy. It is a place where you are heard, respected, and honored. Our clients’ capacity to learn is abundant; it’s how they learn that is different. We focus on what they can do and look for their hidden potential. At the same time, we provide a space that naturally expands their range of interests and skills. Whether it’s changing a DVD, learning how to type, playing a game or shopping in the community, we work together to increase their quality of life.
We want to expand the way services are provided to people with autism. We have moved away from the traditional isolated therapy rooms and incorporated a large motor room (2,000 sq. feet) and shared social spaces such as a Wii room, a teen lounge, a computer room, a sensory room, a full kitchen and a library (4,500 sq. feet of space). We provide adaptive physical education, arts, music, yoga, and other recreational activities that are beneficial to people on the spectrum. The flexibility provided by Thrive’s shared spaces gives us many ways to adapt the therapeutic experience and allows us to leverage motivation, have fun, and expand ranges of interest. This drives progress in all areas.
We are also determined to bring the community together. We believe in inclusion and plan on incorporating typical peers into our program. We want to develop a culture within our Center that pours out to the community and increases quality of life for our clients and their families. There are many opportunities to integrate our clients into the community: buying ingredients for a recipe, mailing packages, visiting museums and parks, or learning how to use an ATM. These are just some of the ways in which our clients learn to participate and succeed in the real world. We believe knowledge is power – by educating our clients about the community, we are also educating the community about our clients, thereby creating an integrated community where we all Thrive.
Daily success happens here – 25 Post St. San Jose, CA 95113 (408) 484-1028. Please see our full-page ad in this edition.
Mitra Ahani is the founder of Route 2 Language (R2L), which originated in San Mateo and now operates also in San Jose at Thrive Therapy and Social Center. Mitra owns and operates Thrive with her husband David Tollner.