Today we’d like to introduce you to Kim Hoehne.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Kim. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
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?”
I’ve always been up for challenges and this definitely seemed like one, so why not? 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.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I am a clinician by heart. Received my BA in Psychology from Lake Forest College and my MA in Learning & Developmental Disabilities from Northwestern. The ONLY business class I ever took was Economics 101 in undergrad, and hated it might I add!! It was my only C and I cried before and after every exam. Fast forward 20 years and now I am running a business with over 100 employees – who does that? So, has it been a smooth road, heck no! There have been many mistakes and hardships, overwhelming feelings, and not being able to pay myself for many years. Stuff like that keeps you up at night. But when I walk into the center, see our staff having fun teaching our clients and changing their lives, my response becomes, “Bring it!” If this is what it takes to help our client’s and their family, I’m in! Through the years, I have learned that surrounding yourself with very smart and talented people can help strengthen the company and services to the clients, and helps me sleep at night too.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about KGH Autism Services – what should we know?
KGH Autism Services, a recognized Behavioral Health Center of Excellence and leading provider in autism care, provides individualized care, a multidisciplinary team and offers support for the whole family. We provide ABA therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, mental health services and social skills groups to individuals as young as infancy through young adulthood. We offer services in our state-of-the-art center, in the family’s home, or wherever therapy is needed!
We are proud to have earned the Behavioral Health Center of Excellence distinction by excelling in clinical quality, parent satisfaction and quality of staff. How are we different? We believe in personalizing all treatment plans to meeting individual needs, from the number of therapy hours, to the location of therapy, to the types of services received. Additionally, we believe the therapy an individual receives is only as strong as their treatment team; that’s why all clinicians at KGH are either licensed or certified. Lastly, we believe that success depends on the entire family feeling supported, therefore, our services embrace the family as a whole.
We uphold to the belief that if our clients are not learning new skills, then we are not teaching. We, at KGH, perform to high clinical standards and ethics. We strive to ensure successful gains are met, and goals are achieved, for every family served.
We are a results-driven therapy center and the longest autism care provider of the Northshore area (over 17 years!!). We are excited to have relocated to Deerfield! This relocation has allowed us to expand our services and be able to help more families find happier days.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My biggest shout out for credit would be my mother, brother, and sister-in law. They have continuously put in crazy hours in the evenings and weekends and have done whatever is needed to help get KGH where it is today. At family gatherings, we have to have a rule – no KGH talk, or the rest of the family gets mad – but that’s how dedicated they are and want the best for me and KGH.
I think our client’s parents deserve lots of credit as well. Parents of kids with special needs are warriors and stick close together. Most of our referrals come from our current or past parents that we have or had the privilege of helping. My philosophy has always been, put all the effort into our client’s and the positive results that the client’s show will be our marketing campaign!
Another person who deserves a lot of credit would be my Vistage mentor, Lori Pedelty. She is a wonderful business mentor who has taught me all the ‘business stuff’ I need to be successful. Every month when we meet, I go through a business boot camp. She has filled in the gaps from clinician to business leader to help me provide a sustainable business that operates in the best interest of the client’s and employees.
- Address: 1161 Lake Cook Road
Deerfield, IL 60015
- Website: www.kghautismservices.com
- Phone: 847.498.5437
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kghautismservicesIL/