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Counselor Carrie Bruce Goes The Extra Mile

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The Choice Group counselor Carrie Bruce is committed to bettering the lives of her clients by consistently staying up-to-date with her training. Carrie recently became WiSA certified and will soon start in the Youth Training Program with The Choice Group. After taking the Youth Training Program exam, she will wrap the program up with a case study. Counselors like Carrie help people understand the many programs available to them by explaining the various programs and their benefits. “WiSA is a very powerful program, and I hope to get the word out,” says Carrie. Trained WISA staff are authorized by the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI), and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS). They provide clear explanations about disability benefits to qualified individuals, the effects their income will have on their benefits, the availability of work incentives to help the individual trans

Celebrating Client Success

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Billy Kraus, a Choice Group counselor from Hampton Roads, is excited at his client’s success in his role at Burlington department store. Isiah McEachin has been a client of Billy’s since January 2021 and is in Follow Along services with The Choice Group. Isiah had worked with Burlington in the past and had an interest in working with them again. Billy supported him throughout the application and interview process. “ Isiah is a hard worker and committed to learning new things,” says Billy, who holds monthly site visits and contact with his client. In his role at Burlington, Isiah is tasked with receiving and processing new items and recovering items on the sales floor. During a shift, Isiah reset the decorative wall art section of the store from scratch and, after some support, could complete the task independently. His supervisor was so impressed with Isiah's work that it was shared with the other Burlington stores around the nation. Isiah requires extra time to process new informa

From Graduation to the Real World

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  It’s graduation season here at The Choice Group! Students are completing the Project SEARCH and PEERS programs and preparing to enter the world armed with new life skills.  A Choice Group counselor recently ran into a PEERS graduate and his mother, who spoke highly of employment opportunities and her son’s newfound friend group. She credited his successful employment and social life to the PEERS classes he took in high school. It is a beautiful feeling to see the skills learned in these programs being used as a tool for success in the everyday lives of our graduates.  In the PEERS program, young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder, who have difficulty with social skills, are offered a class that provides instruction and support which teach social skills and help promote a sense of unity in the skills learned in the young adult’s home, community, and on their job site. The Project SEARCH program created a model for students with significant disabilities to learn how to make a success

Continue to Soar with PEERS

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Zachary Sisisky, who works in Behavioral Management at The Choice Group, just finished up another 16-week PEERS course. The PEERS curriculum was developed by UCLA and is designed for young adults with Autism who are motivated to make friends but have difficulty with social skills.  Sisisky led a class of six participants through skills training and social courses that included behavioral rehearsal activities, homework, and role-play demonstrations. As a PEERS counselor, it is Sisisky’s job to help motivate his students to make friends and to apply the skills they learn in this course to their everyday lives.  A new PEERS session will be starting another virtual class this fall with 6-8 people. An unexpected benefit of running the course virtually is being able to have people join from across the state. From Winchester, to Charlottesville, to Richmond, the broader reach is something that our counselors have enjoyed.  For more information on The Choice Group or The PEERS curriculum visit

How The Choice Group Counseling Program Leads To Employment Success

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At The Choice Group, the goal of counseling is to provide a safe, accepting, and non-judgmental place where individuals can explore issues in confidence. Our goal is for the therapist and client to become a team that explores the client’s strengths, values, fears, and difficulties together. Many of our clients are on the autism spectrum. One such client had been told by a previous employer that he was never going to be able to hold a professional position. Before working with The Choice Group, this individual didn’t have a job coach and was terminated from many previous positions due to challenges with interacting with female coworkers. When The Choice Group manager Shadi Zadeh first met this client about six years ago, he was in his forties, held a Ph.D., and had been working off-and-on for years. By working with our counseling program, he has held down a position as an engineer making $42 an hour with the opportunity for consistent raises and the trust to work from home. Our client