Social Grace is a coaching and therapy practice based in the Washington DC area that empowers neurodiverse individuals to live happy, meaningful lives. We regularly partner with this team of highly skilled therapists and coaches to provide our members with diverse activities and opportunities for social interaction, including our monthly, “Healthy Hangout”.
Board Director Fredda Hurwitz, whose son Noah attends weekly teen hangouts and 1on1 therapy sessions at Social Grace, spoke with founder Ginny Conroy to talk about her motivation, the value of partnership and upcoming events for Our Stomping Ground members.
Read the Q&A below.
Fredda Hurwitz, Q: Tell us a little about yourself and how you started Social Grace?
Ginny Conroy, A:
Growing up in a chaotic household, number 5 of 6 kids, I was blessed to have the most incredible brother, Russell, who is now 34 years old and has Autism and Down Syndrome. I am who I am today because of Russell’s kindness, patience and love! He was also my protector from my older brothers! I have other family members who struggled with their mental health, social anxiety and or ADHD. They inspired me to go into special education and behavioral analysis and I ended up teaching in the Arlington Public school system for years.
My last year in APS I served as a Department Chair of Special Education, and I felt like my teens were not getting all they needed to thrive into adulthood. That cliff you hear about after high school is real! I felt there was so much emphasis on testing and more work needed to be done on social and emotional development, activities of daily living, job skills and so much more! After I had my daughter Grace in 2016, I decided to take a leap of faith and start my own practice to help close this gap.
I really had no idea what it was going to turn into, but what started as an individual social and executive function coaching practice has evolved into a full spectrum therapy practice staffed by dedicated occupational therapists, licensed professional counselors, special educators, and coaches. And my favorite thing that I’ve been able to accomplish with Social Grace, is our ability to offer free support to families!
Q: Why the name “Social Grace?”
Ginny Conroy, A: I didn’t even have a name for my practice when I first started, it’s something that took a long time to figure out. But I put my two favorite things together, my love teaching social competencies, connecting people and having my first child (Grace) at the same time. I also think having grace in this life is so important, no matter what your situation is! Grace truly wins every time!
Q: How did the partnership with OSG begin and what was the goal/mission?
Ginny Conroy, A: When I heard about Our Stomping Ground, I was so excited about providing more social opportunities for adults with DD. My collaboration began with Donna Budway (Program Director of OSG) and we talked about what it means to live a healthy life and some things we could do to get together that would be simple, but fun. I think that when people think about getting together and hanging out they think of food and going to do something complicated. But it doesn’t have to be! To be honest, one of my favorite things to do is going on walks with friends. And I believe everyone needs that, to get out in nature and connect! So that’s how we came up with the idea of Healthy Hangouts.
Q: What’s on the horizon for our partnership together?
Ginny Conroy, A:
We’ll continue to host Healthy Hangouts monthly with Our Stomping Ground. In the future we hope to host a variety of social activities and classes and offer virtual options for people who can’t come in person. Healthy Hangouts will definitely continue! We’ll continue to walk and talk and make connections which is extremely important for everyone in our community! However, we LOVE thinking outside of the box and will continue to seek collaboration between OSG and Social Grace as our communities grow and evolve together.
Walks with friends from our Healthy Hangouts event.