AUTISM PROGRAM OVERVIEW
Our program is self-contained, serving students in Preschool through 5th Grade. We are a public school district that teaches to the standards and where academic expectations are held high.
Classrooms serving children diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum Disorder maintain a ratio of at least one staff member to every two children. Instruction is provided individually, in dyads, and in groups. Programming incorporates the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Verbal Behavior (VB). Teaching is individualized and center-based with an emphasis on development of communication skills, social skills, academic skills, and self-help skills. Teaching centers include Intensive Teaching (development of targeted skills specific to each particular child), Fine Motor, and Natural Environment Teaching (generalization of skills learned and development of social and play skills). The head teacher provides this instruction, leads group lessons, and monitors all additional classroom instruction and activities. Transitional ABA classes have been established for some of our students--these classrooms maintain use of the principles of ABA while grouping students whose language and social skills are emerging to provide increase opportunities to learn from each other.
We have full time behaviorists for the program who work hand-in-hand with the administration and the classroom teachers. Behavioral staff conducts Functional Analysis of Behavior, and provides social skills instruction in each classroom. All aspects of the program are overseen by the school principal who also maintains certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Related service staff is on-hand to provide speech, OT or PT, as needed.
Our program has contracted with Pediatric Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, Christine Doerr, APRN-BC,MA, LPC (Advanced Practice Nurse), who is in our building every week. She can observe, evaluate, prescribe, and monitor medication. Her services are optional; any family who chooses to work with her receives her services free of charge.
Our overarching philosophy is that we maintain focus on the whole child/family. We are not only concerned about supporting our students in the school setting, but also in their home and community. We are very familiar with all available supports and services available to families in the county and work closely with Bergen's Promise as well as other agencies.
There are opportunities for mainstreaming for students in the 4th and 5th grade for some special area classes. Our administration works closely with the Superintendent of Maywood Public Schools, and mainstreaming opportunities are provided at the Maywood Middle School which is just steps away from our own building.
Our Autism/ABA Program currently services students from the following local school districts:
Lodi, Hackensack, Mahwah, Wallington, Park Ridge, Garfield, North Arlington, Bergenfield, Moonachie, Wood-Ridge, East Rutherford, Rutherford, Little Ferry, Harrington Park, Lyndhurst, Carlstadt, South Hackensack, Hasbrouck Heights, Elmwood Park, Belleville, Ridgefield Park, Bogota.