A Note from Our Founder | KGH Autism Services: ASD Treatment Clinic, Chicago & Madison

A Note from Our Founder

Parents and professionals often ask how KGH began. I find myself answering that question like this:

When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up, I didn’t have an answer for them until I was 5 or 6.  From that point on, I would tell them, “I want to wear Mickey Mouse t-shirts and help kids”. I had no idea what that meant, but that is what it looked like in my mind.

Fast forward 14 years and I’m a 19 year old sophomore in college studying psychology.  Needing money to support my late night studying pizza habit, I found a flyer on my psychology bulletin board saying work with a boy with autism - $8 per hour.  I had no idea what autism was, but was interested because the library was only paying a little over $4. That’s a lot of pizza, I was thinking to myself! So I called the number on the flyer.

Next thing I knew, I was knocking on the door of this little boy’s house.  Upon entering, this cute little boy, who refused to make eye contact, gave me this worn out, well-loved teddy bear.  His father quickly offered me the job.  When I inquired as to the rush of the offer, the dad said ‘watch’.  He then attempted to grab the teddy bear from my hands and the little boy began what I could best describe as a full blown, no hold bars meltdown – screaming, hitting, crying, etc.  Once the decibel level came down enough and I could hear over the ringing in my ears from this microburst of behaviors, the dad of the little boy told me that his son has never given up his teddy bear, and that I was the first person he ever offered it to.  I didn’t realize it then, but I found my calling.  Or better yet, this little boy, Johnny, found it for me!

Leaving the house with a treatment schedule, I immediately thought, “What am I getting myself into?” Shortly after the start of his in-home Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program, the consultant moved away and the other therapists on his team quit, leaving me as his only therapist. I was forced to quickly learn not only how to teach a child with autism, but also what to teach a child with autism. I worked with Johnny 2 ½ hours a day, six days a week for 3 ½ years. We went through tough times and intense behaviors. I often found myself creating materials from magazines since his family did not have the financial resources to buy the needed teaching materials. We also went through great times, hearing his first words (“shoe” and “ball”) and watching the school bus pick him up for the first day of kindergarten (regular kindergarten, that is!!). Along the way, I learned a great deal about autism, as well as how autism affects the family. I didn’t realize it then, but I found my calling – actually, Johnny found my calling and I haven’t looked back since.

KGH Autism Services officially began in January 2001; however, the philosophy for KGH started developing in 1993.  So how did KGH Autism Services get started?  It started with a desire to help a little boy named Johnny and blossomed into several therapists with similar desires and goals to do what we can to help our clients achieve their maximum potential.

A warm welcome to KGH! We look forward to supporting your family.

Kim Garvey Hoehne, M.A., BCBA
Board Certified Behavior Analyst
Child Development Specialist
Founder/Owner of KGH