It is a safe environment where my son is learning. I like that the psychiatric services wrapped into the day.Pace Parent
Annie came to Pace when she was 6 years old. When she arrived, she looked just like any other child. She was bright and sociable, but had struggled in her early learning program. So often, her words didn’t match what she seemed to want and she would become frustrated and tantrum, sometimes destroying the very things she seemed to enjoy. Annie’s Autism Spectrum Disorder was interfering with her ability to properly attach words to ideas.
Pace effectively blends educational services, mental health care and behavioral interventions to meet the needs of students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Each Autism support classroom has a low student to staff ratio (no more than 10 students with 3 staff members). Daily routines are highly structured within a sensory rich environment that focuses on each student’s individual needs. Students with communication difficulties receive highly structured and intensive communication skills training that is proven to make a measurable difference in their development.
In addition to traditional academics, students in the Autism Support Program also receive:
- Social skills training integrated throughout the school day.
- Intensive focus on functional communication skills development.
- Individualized behavior support plans based on functional assessment of behavior that teaches appropriate replacement behaviors.
- Individualized academic programs that build on the learner’s strengths.
- Therapeutic interventions including speech therapy, occupational and physical therapy as indicated on the child’s IEP.
- On-site mental health consultation including medication management to treat co-existing mental health disorders.
- Parent support and educational groups as well as intensive individualized consultation as needed.
- Sensory based activities and sensory integration opportunities throughout the day to help students avoid or eliminate anxiety and stay involved in learning tasks.
- On-going analysis of interventions to ensure that children are benefiting from the program with formalized team review every 20 days to revise strategies as needed.
- Active participation in Pace’s trauma sensitive environment where tools are modified to meet the unique needs and abilities of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
- Special area instruction including music, art, physical education, daily living skills and information technology.
- A wide variety of arts based activities to expose students to alternate forms of expression and engagement in the creative process individually and in groups.
Verbal Behavior Programming
Students in the Autism Support program who have significant language delays receive intensive educational programming designed to increase their functional language skills. This program, supported by participation in the Pennsylvania Autism Initiative, has proven to significantly increase both language acquisition and functional use of language. Through this approach students also gain significant behavior improvement due to application of Applied Behavior Analysis and the ability to express their needs both verbally and non-verbally rather than through disruptive behaviors.
The Verbal Behavior program is supported by a substantial base of evidence to be effective and Pace programs have seen transformative improvements in our students.