Frequently Asked Questions

Will my child be in a group with other students who are similarly functioning?

At Spotlight, we take a variety of factors into consideration when trying to place your child in a group that will be the “best fit” for his/her needs. Groups are formed on the basis of age, developmental needs, interests, social competency, language competency, and level of perspective taking. Each group is made up of participants with a range of visible and invisible skills and needs who are placed together because we have determined they will work well together and challenge one another. No two participants have exactly the same areas of strength and difficulty and we work to carefully intake participants in order to create well-balanced groups.

Can my child try one group meeting before we commit to the entire session?

Many participants who attend Spotlight have had previously negative social experiences and/or have a high level of social anxiety. Moreover, participants may have difficulty transitioning into novel experiences and require time to adjust to the program schedule, staff, and group members. As such, we do not offer “trial periods” that are less than the full length of one program session. We are available to work with parents to find unique ways to motivate participation in the program.

Although each participant goes through a sophisticated intake process, there are some occasions when we start a group and recognize that an alternate program or group placement would be a better fit. In such circumstances, we will work with your family to place the participant in a new group at no additional tuition cost.

My child has another commitment that overlaps with the group time; can he come an hour late to group each week?

In order to gain the full benefit of our social pragmatics curriculum, it is important for your child to be here on time and stay for the duration of each group meeting. Arriving late, leaving early, or missing repeated sessions is disruptive for your child and his/her group members. Moreover, it can jeopardize their developing cohesive relationships with their peers and staff. If you know that your child has a potential conflict with any program days, please share this with staff in advance so that we can determine whether his/her attendance record will be detrimental to the program and group goals.f

How do you manage difficult behavior? Do you kick children out of the program?

All program participants may from time to time have days that are just not good for socializing. This can be the result of a stressful week at school or home but may also occur because a participant is simply having an “off” day. Our goal at Spotlight is to help participants understand that these days happen and that it is okay and even encouraged to take breaks or stay home on those days. When a participant pushes too hard to be social and is having difficulty regulating their mood and energy, they risk having a “meltdown” or a highly negative interaction with their group members that is difficult to repair. Taking a break should not be looked at as a punishment but rather something that all people need from time to time. It is important that participants learn to take breaks appropriately as needed and we look at that as an important life skill and goal of our program. When a participant is unable to take these needed breaks independently, staff may suggest they take an activity or a day off.

During program intake, families are expected to share information about potentially disruptive or aggressive behaviors demonstrated by their child, adolescent, or young adult, and to share behavior plans or strategies used to address these. Spotlight staff will familiarize themselves with and implement any behavior management plans in place for a participant as appropriate, as long as the recommended interventions do not compromise the human rights of the student and do not unreasonably disrupt the program for other participants. When a participant is not responding to behavior plans and known strategies, Spotlight staff will work with families to arrange a family meeting to discuss progress, challenges, and develop new strategies. While our intent is to work towards the positive resolution of any behavior issue, it is our primary responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of all program participants and staff. Any student who engages in aggressive behavior (serious enough to threaten the safety of self or others) may be sent home for the day and/or suspended from the program. The parent/guardian will be notified, and will be expected to come to the program promptly to remove the student.

When is tuition due for the program?

An initial payment for the program is due with the program registration form and ensures that a slot is held in the program for your child. For school year programs, the initial payment is at least 50% of the program tuition. For summer programs, the initial payment is $1,500. The remaining tuition payment is due the first day of the group or program your child is participating in. Failure to pay full tuition on the first day of group will preclude your child’s participation in the program.

Can I use my medical flexible spending account to pay for the program?

Your family is eligible to use your medical flexible spending account to pay for the services. In order to access this funding you will need your child’s physician to write a note recommending that your child receive group social skills training.

Are there any scholarships available?

You may be eligible to receive a scholarship for the program tuition from an agency outside of Spotlight. Some programs that families have had success obtaining scholarships from include local Autism Support Centers, the Asperger’s Association of New England, or the Flutie Foundation. Spotlight occasionally receives grant and/or donation funds that can be applied toward tuition scholarships. When this occurs, we communicate openly with newly enrolling and returning families.

If I cannot afford to pay the tuition all at once, do you offer payment plans?

Spotlight does offer payment plans to families when payment of full tuition at one time presents a clear hardship. In such circumstances, a family can contact Chris Curtin to discuss a plan and sign an agreement to pay out the money over an agreed upon period. In general, payment plans require that a family complete the final program payment before the last day of the program.

If my child is going to miss a group, can my tuition be prorated?

When you register your child for a Spotlight group, we reserve their space in the group for the entire session and hire staff to meet your child’s needs and to be on site for all days of the program. Even if your child misses a session, we cannot offer his or her slot to another participant for one day. For these reasons, we are unable to offer prorated tuition.