Because the students in our classrooms are so unique, we use many different strategies to best meet their needs.
Below are just a few of the many different curriculum pieces and teaching strategies that we use in all or part.
Applied Behavior Analysis
Behavior analysis is a scientific approach to understanding behavior and how it is affected by the environment. "Behavior" refers to all kinds of actions and skills (not just misbehavior) and "environment" includes all sorts of physical and social events that might change or be changed by one's behavior. The science of behavior analysis focuses on principles about how behavior works, or how learning takes place. For example, one principle of behavior analysis is positive reinforcement. When a behavior is followed by something that is valued (a "reward"), that behavior is likely to be repeated. Through decades of research, the field of behavior analysis has developed many techniques for increasing useful behaviors and reducing those that may be harmful or that interfere with learning. Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the use of those techniques and principles to address socially important problems, and to bring about meaningful behavior change.
ABA methods have been used successfully with many kinds of learners of all ages, with and without disabilities, in many different settings. A wide variety of ABA techniques have been developed for building useful skills in learners with autism of all ages. Those techniques are used in both structured situations (such as formal instruction in classrooms) and in more "natural" everyday situations (such as during play or mealtime at home), and in 1-to-1 as well as group instruction. They are used to develop basic skills like looking, listening and imitating, as well as complex skills like reading, conversing, and taking the perspective of others.
Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication Handicapped Children
TEACCH is a complete program of services for autistic people which makes use of various associated techniques depending upon the individual person's needs and emerging capabilities. The main goal of TEACCH is to help autistic children grow up to their maximum ability by adult age. Advocates of TEACCH state that it aims for a 'whole life' approach in supporting children, adolescents, and adults with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder such as Autism or Asperger syndrome, through the help of visual information, structure and predictability. TEACCH principles involve changing the behavior and skill level of the person as well as developing an environment that matches the person’s needs. This program tries to respond to the needs of autistic people using the best available approaches and methods known so far for educating them and to provide the maximum level of independence that they can achieve. This includes helping them understand the world that surrounds them, acquiring communication skills that will enable them to relate to other people and giving them the necessary capability to be able to make choices concerning their own lives.
TEACCH is a structured technique specialized to the person’s visual processing strengths by organizing the physical structure of the room and providing a visual conduct to supply information about activities. Structured teaching places heavy reliance upon teaching through visual means due to the difficulties that children with autism have with processing verbal information. Visual structure is provided at a variety of levels such as organizing areas of the classroom, providing a daily schedule using pictures or written words, as well as visual instructions and visual organization signaling the beginning and end of tasks.
Strategies for Teaching Based on Autism Research
The STAR Autism Program teaches children with autism the critical skills identified by the 2001 National Research Council. The ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) instructional methods of discrete trial training, pivotal response training and functional routines form the instructional base of this comprehensive program for children with autism.The STAR Program includes detailed lesson plans, teaching materials, data systems and a curriculum-based assessment for teaching in the six curricular areas of receptive language, expressive language, spontaneous language, functional routines, academics, and play & social skills.
Handwriting without Tears
The goal is to help students learn proper handwriting habits and then apply those habits naturally and automatically to all writing experiences that they’ll take throughout elementary school, high school, and beyond. The HWT curriculum starts when children enter kindergarten. By playing, singing and building letters, they develop important skills they need to print words, sentences, paragraphs, and eventually transition to cursive.
Early Literacy Skills Builder
ELSB is a research-based and language-rich literacy curriculum for children ages 5 to 10 with moderate to severe developmental disabilities. It incorporates systematic instruction to teach both print and phonemic awareness. ELSB is a multi-year program with seven distinct levels and ongoing assessments so students progress at their own pace.
Picture Exchange Communication System
Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is a form of augmentative and alternative communication. It is typically used as an aid in communication for children with autism and other special needs. The system has been used with a variety of ages including preschoolers, adolescents and adults who have a wide array of communicative, cognitive and physical difficulties. Recent literature reviews have supported PECS as an evidence-based practice.