e-Connections Summer Program

e-Connections Summer Program

Contact Us

If you're interested in learning more about our Summer Programs, please give us a call.

Attn: Dr. David Meichenbaum
75 Pineview Drive, Suite 200
Amherst, NY 14228

e-Connections Summer Program

The Summit Center’s 2020 Summer Programs has been canceled

As a result of the current pandemic and the need to cancel our Community Connections and ADHD Summer Treatment Programs, we created an on-line adapted program called e-Connections. While we believed that the e-Connections program could provide both instructive and engaging activities that support social, emotional and behavioral skill acquisition, the interest in the program fell short of the necessary enrollment needed for us to run this program. As a result, we’re disappointed to announce that we are canceling the e-Connections summer program. Any payments you have made will be returned promptly.

We know many children and their families were counting on our program to provide necessary skill development. Please read the full letter here.

Eligibility and Expectations

The e-Connections Summer Program is open to children, ages 6-16, with social-interaction and/or emotional-regulatory difficulties related to high functioning autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, or other disabilities. A clinical diagnosis is not required for participation.

Child/Parent Expectations

For children to benefit from this program we have the following expectations of children and their parents/caregivers.  Please consider these expectations prior to enrolling your child into the program, as refunds will not be able to be provided once your child is accepted into the program.

Expectations for children:

  • Access to a computer, with microphone, camera, speaker and reliable internet connection
  • Basic operational knowledge of a computer
  • Able to participate in a 20-minute interactive discussion
  • Able to remain within camera view for the duration of the session
  • Able to verbally participate and communicate need for assistance
  • Child is a positive responder to behavioral interventions

Expectation for parents/caregivers:

  • Provide initial assistance/support to help child connect and participate
  • Ensure a distraction free setting for their child (no cell phones, tablets, TV’s)
  • Be “available” during the session (reachable by phone or text)
  • Attend/watch the weekly parent training group

Program Goals and Skill Focus Areas

We want every child to make gains during their time in the program. As such, the goals are as follows:

  • Increase social skills and social awareness, as it relates to improving peer relations
  • Increase understanding of others’ feelings, facial expressions, non-verbal social cues
  • Increase understanding of one’s own feelings and ways to regulate/respond when anxious, frustrated, sad, or over-excited.
  • Increase behavioral skills, such as following directions, adhering to activity rules, participating and being on-task.
  • Increase social-confidence and self-esteem, by providing a positive and safe environment that supports individualized growth and goal attainment
  • Increase parent understanding of ways to support, reinforce, and maintain positive changes

Each session will focus on a specific skill area as follows:

Session 1:        July 6-17          FRIENDSHIP    

Example Skills*

  • Meeting someone new
  • Compliments/accepting a compliment
  • Thanking others
  • Helping
  • Showing interest in others
  • Having conversations
  • Joining In
  • Working/playing cooperatively
  • Waiting your turn
  • Sharing/Turn-taking
  • Being a good sport
  • Negotiating/reaching a compromise
  • Appropriately joking around with others
  • Respecting other’s opinions

Session 2:        July 20-31        SELF-REGULATION AND PROBLEM SOLVING

Example Skills*

  • Knowing your feelings
  • Expressing your feelings
  • Using self-control
  • Making an appropriate complaint
  • Showing concern for another
  • Deciding what caused a problem
  • Apologizing
  • Responding to teasing
  • Dealing with disappointment
  • Dealing with being left out
  • Dealing with group pressure
  • Dealing with embarrassment
  • Self-reflection
  • Moving from preferred to non-preferred (transitions)
  • Dealing with Sensitive Topics

Session 3:        August 3-7       SCHOOL READINESS

Example Skills*

  • Listening/”Focus”
  • Clarifying Instructions
  • Asking a question
  • Asking permission
  • Asking for help
  • Ignoring distractions
  • Contributing to discussions
  • Taking a break
  • Setting a goal
  • Prioritizing tasks/arranging problems by importance
  • Sharing opinions
  • Dealing with corrective feedback
  • Clarifying my point of view
  • Dealing with failure
  • Acknowledging Someone when asked to do something
  • Determining what others may be thinking
  • Advocating for myself/standing up for myself
  • Accepting responsibility
  • Concentrating on a task
  • Preparing for Class/Organizing Materials
  • Making Corrections

*The above are listed as possible skills, given not all skills can be addressed within 5 or 10 day sessions.  Specific skills will be dependent on the ages, abilities, and needs of the participants in each group.

Program Structure

Each daily session will follow the same schedule:

  • Morning Meeting (10 min)
  • Skillstreaming (20 min)
  • Interactive Activity 1 (20 min)
  • Break (5 min)
  • Interactive Activity 2 (20 min)
  • End of Group Discussion (7-8 min)
  • Reinforcement & Departures (7-8 min)

Morning Meetings will provide children/adolescents with an opportunity to review previous days’ skills, share instances of utilizing the skills at home, and earn reinforcement and awards for success within the program.  Our morning meeting will also be an opportunity to celebrate our daily fun-filled themes.

Skillstreaming sessions are where we will introduce our “Skill of the Day” (“S.O.D.”).  Children will be reinforced for demonstrating the “S.O.D.” or “Prior S.O.D.” throughout the program.  Parents/caregivers will be encouraged to reinforce demonstration of the “S.O.D.” outside of the program.

Interactive Activities are interactive, social-cooperative activities, specifically designed to create opportunities to demonstrate and practice our “S.O.D” or “Prior S.O.D”.   A variety of engaging modalities will be used to encourage participation.

End of Group Discussion is an opportunity for children to reflect on what went well and to think-ahead as to ways to utilize the “S.O.D.” prior to our next session.

Breaks and Reinforcement will be provided given our strong desire to keep kids engaged and to celebrate their effort and progress.  End of session reinforcement is to be earned.  Children who have not earned their end of session reinforcement will participate in a brief problem-solving discussion.



Every group will have a primary virtual group room within Microsoft Teams for Education.  The primary room will be the location for group-based discussions, Skillstreaming sessions, and whole group interactive activities.  Each group will also have a secondary room within Microsoft Teams, for smaller group activities, problem-solving discussions, and deescalation, if needed.  Microsoft Teams also provides a platform to share materials or documents that may be needed for some of the interactive activities.



Behavioral Point System: Our behavioral model is based on positive reinforcement. Prior to each activity, your child’s counselor will review activity rules. Throughout each session, counselors will provide immediate and continual feedback by awarding points for adherence to the rules and demonstration of positive prosocial skills (i.e., S.O.D and Prior S.O.D.s). Points will be removed for failing to adhere to rules or for demonstrating socially inappropriate behaviors.  All behaviors/points are tracked and viewable in Class DOJO.  Parents/caregivers will receive (via Class DOJO) a daily summary outlining their child’s success.  Based on success children may earn end of program day rewards and home-based rewards.  Furthermore, children will receive additional reinforcement at the end of each week with virtual “Fun Friday” activities.

Individualized Behavior Targets: While the behavioral model is group-based, each child will be issued individualized goals to achieve.  Individualized goals will be written in a manner to increase postive behaviors (e.g., participating, demonstrating friendship skills, adhering to rules, focusing).  Additional points, along with in-session and out-of-session reinforcement, will be provided for achieving each goal. Behavioral shaping, that is expecting gradual improvement, will be utilized to set achievable goals and to encourage progress.

Sit outs and Individualized Behavior Plans: While we expect children will be engaged by the activities, they will enjoy the positive reinforcing nature of the staff, and they will be motivated by the behavioral system, there may still be times that children struggle behaviorally or emotionally.  Staff are trained to support children through these moments.  When these behavioral instances occur, if they are disruptive to the group or require additional time and attention, the child’s counselor may move the child to a secondary virtual room for a brief sit out or to work one-on-one to get back on track.  Should a child’s behavior remain escalated in a manner that requires prolonged attention and support, parents/caregivers will be called in order to provide assistance.  Should challenges persist on a daily basis, consideration will be given to developing an individualized behavior plan to address concerns.

Weekly Parent Meetings

Using Go To Webinar, we will host weekly parent meetings to support the generalization of the skills your child has learned during the week. These sessions will be live but will also be recorded for later viewing. The sessions will be posted on our website.


Here's everything you need to apply.

The following documentation should be submitted for all new children applying to the program:

  • On-line application (see link below)
  • Documentation of diagnosis (if applicable)
  • Psychological and/or psychiatric reports (if applicable)
  • Speech and language reports (if applicable)
  • IEP (if child receives special education services)
  • Other relevant educational records and special education documents

If your child has previously attended a Summer Program, please submit any updated documentation along with the on-line application.

Submit documentation by mail to:

The Summit Center
ATTN: Summer Programs
75 Pineview Drive
Amherst, NY, 14228

or fax to: 716-799-8529
ATTN: Summer Programs

or email to:


Session 1 = $640

Session 2 = $640

Session 3 = $320

All 3 Sessions = $1600

The online application takes about 20-30 minutes to complete. Once started, the application needs to be completed in full as there is currently not an option to save and update at a later time. The online application allows you the option to upload supplemental paperwork (IEP, diagnosis, evaluation), however this can be mailed, faxed, or emailed if you prefer.

If you have any questions, please contact Summit at 716-799-8508

Make a Payment

We expect that this program will fill quickly. Children registering after June 5th will be placed on a wait list and enrollment cannot be guaranteed.

Full tuition payment is needed at the time of registration to reserve a spot for your child. Should your child be deemed not appropriate for the program, upon review of the application, a refund will be issued. Once your child is accepted into the program, refunds will not be able to be provided.

In the event that we do not have a minimum of 24 participants by June 5th this program will not be able to operate and refunds will be issued.

If you have any questions, please contact us at 716-799-8508.

The payment portal has 2 parts. Make sure to select the link at the end of Part 1 to complete your payment.

e-Connections FAQs

Why run a virtual program this year, instead of the regular STP and Community Connections Programs at Willow Ridge?

  • In lieu of the current health crisis, the uncertainty related to the opening of WNY, and our primary concern regarding the health and safety of our children, families, and staff, we have made the decision to move to a virtual on-line program this summer. This decision is further necessary given the many unknowns related to the availability of our summer program facility and the feasibility of pending health restrictions on summer programs (i.e., what restrictions will be place on social distancing, group size, use of PPEs, and disinfecting?).

Can this program actually go virtual and will it be beneficial to my child?

  • We are confident that many of the therapeutic components of our “in person” summer programs can be adapted for a virtual program.  Children will still receive daily Skillstreaming instruction to help with the acquisition of skills, followed by Therapeutic Activities to practice targeted skills.  A comprehensive behavioral feedback system will also be in place to reinforce the utilization of positive social-communication and behavioral skills, and to encourage the demonstration of the skills in the future.   Behavioral parent training and a teacher workshop will be offered to further assist with generalization of gains into the home and future school setting.

What does my child need to participate?

  • Children will need access to a computer/laptop (Chromebooks and IPADS are ok too) that has a camera, microphone, speaker, and reliable connectivity to the internet.  Your child will need to have a basic operational knowledge of how to utilize this equipment; otherwise parent support will be needed.  Children will also need to be able to communicate their need for assistance if the technology is not working appropriately.

Do I need to be involved during each daily session?

  • While we do not expect that parents will need to remain beside their child for the duration of each daily session, we do expect that parents may be needed initially to help their child with connecting and participating, and to create a distraction free setting. Further, we are necessitating that all parents be immediately accessible via phone/text during the program.  This would be to provide immediate support should your child turn off their camera, go off camera for a prolonged period of time, be repeatedly distracted by their environment, be unsafe/injured, or  be otherwise upset and unable to be calmed down by program staff and structure.

Will parents and children be given any training prior to the program?

  • We will be holding a parent orientation webinar prior to the program to go over details of the program. Further, children’s counselors will be able to set up brief “test-runs” with the children prior to the start of their first session, to ensure their accessibility to the necessary programs and to review some initial expectations.

Is it realistic to expect children to sit in front of a screen for 90-minutes, especially children who have the need to move a lot?

  • We certainly understand the need for movement and the challenge of staying in front of a camera. No activity will be longer than 20 minutes and there will be opportunities for movement and breaks throughout each daily session.  The program also has point categories for “being actively involved” and “being in your area”.  These activity rules are meant to encourage and reinforce children for remaining engaged in the discussion and activity. “Being in your activity area” will be defined as being anywhere within the camera’s view, as long as we can see their eyes.  Thus, bouncing on a ball, walking around, rolling on a chair, and jumping, will all be permitted.   We will also tolerate brief instances of leaving the camera without deducting points; however, if a child remains outside of his area for longer than 4 seconds we will inform him/her of the rule violation.  Children will also be taught the skills of “asking for permission” and “waiting for permission,” in the event that there is a need to leave the activity area (i.e., the camera’s view).

What if my child does not want to be in front of camera or remain in front of the camera?

  • If your child is concerned about being in front of a camera we can try and desensitize him/her prior to the start of the program. Please let us know, as soon as possible, if this is the case.   There will be an expectation that cameras remain on and children remain within the view of the camera for the duration of the session.  This is needed to help with participation and to ensure safety.  Should a child turn off their camera or remain out of view, and he/she does not respond to staff prompting, direction, or the behavioral intervention response, the child’s parents will be contacted and expected to address the situation immediately.

What are the program hours?

  • Program hours are determined by age. Children 6 to 10 years of age will be from 8:30-10:00 a.m. and children 11-16 years of age will be from 10:30-12:00 p.m.  The program will promptly start and end at the indicated times.

What are the dates of the program?

  • Our program is divided into sessions. Session 1: July 6-July 17; Session 2: July 20-July 31; Session 3: Aug 3 – Aug 7.  Children may attend more than one session.

How do I reserve a spot in the program for my child?

  • Complete the program application as soon as possible. Within the application indicate which session(s) you are interested in and make the tuition payment as directed on the application.  A full tuition payment is needed at the time of registration to reserve a spot for your child.  Should your child be deemed not appropriate for the program, upon review of the application, a refund will be issued.  Once your child is accepted into the program, refunds will not be able to be provided.

What if the session(s) I am interested in is full?

  • We expect that this program will fill quickly. Children registering after June 5th will likely be placed on a waitlist and enrollment cannot be guaranteed.  Spots will open if another child enrolled in the program withdraws from the program.  There is a possibility if enough children of similar age are on the wait list that we could add another group.  This will be dependent both on the ages of the children and on staff availability.

What is the cost of the program?

  • Session 1 and 2 are two-weeks long and cost $640. Session 3 is one-week long and costs $320.

What if my cannot attend all of the days within a session?

  • Unexpected absences sometimes occur during the program as well as planned absences. If you plan to miss a day, please let us know in advance. There is no change to the cost of the program if you attend fewer program days.

Is this covered by insurance and what are my payment options?

  • We do not bill through insurance directly for this treatment. Cash, checks, money orders, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express are accepted forms of payment. Checks should be made payable to “The Summit Center.”

Is financial assistance through Summit available for this summer?

  • Unfortunately, due to the significant economic uncertainty surrounding this year and limited financial resources, we are unable to provide scholarships this year.

Are Flexible Spending Account dollars permitted for this program?

  • We were told that this program will not qualify for FSA plans given it is a virtual program.

Can out-of-town families attend the program?

  • Every summer we have had several international families or families from out of state attend the program. Now that the program will be entirely virtual, for this summer, it will be even more accessible to children/adolescents from outside of Western New York.

I am a school official and would like to send a student to your summer program. What is needed?

  • While several school districts have elected to pay for students to attend the program, Summit Summer Programs are not a State Education Approved program. The Summit Center has no influence on the determination of a school district to pay for a student to attend.  In order for a district paid child to be enrolled, please have the parents complete an application and submit the required paperwork. Upon acceptance into the program, we will draft a contract with the school district for any students that they will be paying for.