FOND DU LAC (NBC 26) — Neurodivergent people — like those with autism, ADHD, anxiety or depression — may deal with unique struggles. But, clinicians at SSM Health Treffert Studios in Fond du Lac are working to hone in on their unique gifts through art, music, games, cooking, and learning life skills.
One of those people is CJ Klein, who has big dreams, like winning his favorite game show.
“I like to play my favorite board game based on my favorite game show ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire which was, which is released on August 16 1999, in our great country America,” CJ said.
He said Treffert Studios offers a good outlet for him to practice his interests.
“I love trivia. . . it's kind of a thing for me,” CJ said.
It’s people like CJ who clinicians at Treffert Studios aim to support through music, art, games, cooking, and learning life skills.
Meg Puddy, SSM Health director of behavioral health for community services, said they identified a “gap” in the community.
“We're really great at early intervention,” Puddy said. “We're really good at supporting our preschool aged children through our various childcare opportunities in early childhood in the community.Once we reach school age, there's not much outside of that school environment to really support and cultivate strengths and passions of our community. So here we are working to close that gap.”
Treffert Studios is modeled after Fond du Lac psychiatrist Dr. Darold Treffert, who focused on the strengths of neurodivergent people, instead of just the barriers. The studios were also designed with input from neurodivergent people.
“We tried to give a platform to amplify the voices in our community to be able to share their story, their passions and their strengths with the world,” Puddy said.
Spencer Depies says the so-called “Treffert approach” helped him as a young person on the autism spectrum.
“Being on the spectrum was, I would say, a roller coaster,” Depies said. “But at the same time it was a beautiful gift, a gift that was wrapped up in an opportunity.”
Now, he works with young kids at Treffert Studios.
“I really look at my work and I'm like, I'm actually really shaping this person to become the best person they can become,” Depies said.
But Treffert Studios isn’t just for people in the Fond du Lac community.
“We have a very engaging online platform,” Puddy said. “We offer virtual services, groups and activities. And so really all of our offerings here at Treffert studios can be utilized and reached across the world.”
The hope is to help more people reach their full potential.
“If I ever do get on a game show, I would give part of my winnings to this place for charity,” CJ said. “I hope I win at least six or seven figures.”
People from anywhere can access treffert studios resources by visiting their website, or calling their office.