Autism, sometimes known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), fits within the umbrella-term Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) which affects children at an early age. It is characterized by qualitative distortions in the child’s development of communication, social skills, and repetitive/stereotypical behavior.
Autism Support Program
Green Tree School & Services offers an Autism Support (AS) program that serves students ages 5 to 21. As defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Autism means a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age three, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences.
Teachers in the Autism Support program are certified in special education and the curriculum is individualized to meet each student’s unique needs. While the learning goals are set annually for children in their Individual Educational Programs (IEPs), the universal goals for students are to increase independence, increase comfort in social interaction, and promote language and functional literacy.
Community integration is a critical programmatic component of the curriculum. Students in the AS program will engage in community outings to learn and practice skills with high frequency. Parents must submit consent for transportation into the local community for educational and vocational outings. Extraordinary field-trips will require parent/guardian consent for each occasion. Student behavioral expectations must be met in order for student participation as per individualized behavior plans and IEPs
Depending on their needs, students in the Autism Support program may receive services including speech/language therapy, occupational therapy, and counseling. Additional services are provided as needed. Re-evaluations are conducted in collaboration with local school districts and in accordance with legal timelines.
Research and Training
There is a growing field of research regarding effective educational practices for autism. Green Tree recognizes the need to remain current regarding best practices. As such, keeping up with changes and the understanding of the disorder. Teachers and staff meet twice per month for professional development.Green Tree School collaborates with several organizations such as CHOP.
There is a growing field of medical and educational research about how best to diagnose, treat, and educate persons with Autism. Green Tree recognizes the need to keep up with changes and the understanding of the disorder. Our teachers meet at least six times a year for instruction on dealing with Autism.