In our school age program, each student follows an individualized curriculum built around the Competent Learner Model (CLM). Most participants follow an adapted curriculum, based on the strengths and needs of the individual. The IEP/IIP guides each child’s curriculum and the method(s) of instruction provided. In addition to CLM, supplemental materials such as adapted reading and math curricula, vocational assessments, and materials to address the ASOLs for VAAP assessments are used with each child.
Inclusion opportunities, to the extent that it is possible and/or appropriate for each individual, are offered. This includes regular outings in the community, participation with typical peers at employment sites, and opportunities to return to public education as determined by the program team.
Participants admitted to the program must have a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder. This may include Asperger’s Syndrome and PDD (NOS). Children may also carry additional diagnoses such as speech-language impairment, developmental delay, or intellectual disability; however, autism should be the primary disability.
Our school age program is staffed with a lead teacher to oversee each classroom and instructional assistants (IAs) who work with the participants to provide individualized instruction and support throughout the day. The instructor to student ratio is no less than 6:8. Related services as required by each individual’s plan are provided by contractors. These are contracted directly by the placing agent or the parents. Services provided may include speech, occupational, physical, or vision therapies.
As part of our program, all employees participate in a rigorous schedule of professional development and training. Additionally, Behavior Analysts provide direct feedback to teachers and instructional assistants on a weekly basis.
As teenagers approach adulthood, an emphasis is placed on the importance of transition planning. Regular community based instruction opportunities are offered based on individual need. These needs are determined through the annual IEP/IIP but may include job experience, vocational training, development of leisure skills, and development of self-help and independent living skills. This transition training may occur on site at The Founders Center or in the community.