These highly structured classroom environments focus on students who require intensive language, communication, academic, social and behavioral support. A positive reinforcement system is in place to support children in the mastery of foundational developmental milestones so they can move foreward towards a greater level of school and functional independence. Students served in this classroom range from those who are non-verbal and working on learning to communicate (either using vocals, PECS/picture exchange system and/or communication devices), to children who are verbal but limited in their functional or pragmatic language. The student/teacher ratio is much higher in this classroom setting with 6-8 students with a teacher and multiple assistants (as needed).
Elementary Extended Core, Academic & Social Curriculum
A variety of reading programs are used and all programs are individualized per student and learning style. Reading instruction may be taught with, but not limited to, one or more of the following programs: Edmark Reading, Reading A-Z, Lindamood-Bell Reading Programs (Talkies, Seeing Stars, Visualizing and Verbalizing), Reading Mastery, Language for Learning and Explode the Code.
Math is based on developmental milestones and common core expectations and individualized to meet the needs of our diverse learners. One or more of the following programs may be used: Touch Math, Horizons Math, and Spectrum Math.
Handwriting Without Tears is the primary handwriting curriculum. Students advance through learning pre-writing strokes, using fading prompts and reinforcement to master proper handwriting techniques. For new learners, instruction focuses on integration of tactile input, decreasing tactile defensiveness, and work on building strength in hands, upper body, and core prior to formal handwriting instruction.
Sensory input is integrated into the daily routine and each child's unique sensory needs are met using different types of proprioceptive and vestibular input which includes but is not limited to: therapy balls, therapy swing, scooter boards, tunnels, weighted items and compression vests.
Social needs are met in a variety of ways depending on each child's abilities and learner profiles. Once basic reciprocal communication is mastered more interactive play and social skills are taught using positive reinforcement and visual supports. For children who are learning to increase expressive language and pragmatics the use of peer modeling, visual cues, social stories, video modeling, social scripts, time-delayed prompting and direct instruction help facilitate daily practice with initiating and maintaining on topic conversations with peers and engaging in functional interactive play with peers.
All children are taught to complete independent work tasks that are tailored to their skills and abilities.
- Students who are non-verbal and/or beginning learners follow the VB-MAPP which outlines a foundational developmental progression.
- These learners are exposed to academic concepts such as numbers, colors, shapes, and letters and move into more structured reading and math programs as their skill levels increase.