Autism (ASD) Services for School Age Children & Youth
Easterseals provides therapy services in inclusive classroom settings at local schools and at a variety of schools and classrooms specially designed for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. With Easterseals, learning doesn’t end when school is finished. Easterseals provides social activities, evenings out, day camps and other recreational activities, both before and after school and during school breaks too.
Going to School
Easterseals professionals in our early intervention programs and inclusive daycare center can help parents decide which learning environment is best for their child with ASD who is starting regular school. Model programs serving children with autism follow these guidelines (Source: The National Research Council):
- intervention is intensive in hours. Children with ASD should be receiving at least 25 hours per week of direct intervention
- families are actively involved as the child’s best teacher and play partner
the learning environment, whether at home or in a classroom, is structured with a predictable daily routine
- the learning environment is organized
staff is supported at the learning environment
- programs focus on communication goals and other developmental areas
- programs use planned, research-based, teaching procedures that have plans for generalization and maintenance of skills
- individual intervention plans are developed for every child
- the transition from preschool or home to school is planned and supported
Common Programs for Students with Autism
Many different intervention strategies are used to educate individuals with autism. The “big three” are the most commonly used methodologies:
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
An applied behavior analytic program includes an individual assessment to determine the skills that a student with ASD does — and does not — have. Skills are then broken down into small steps and taught systematically. The goal is to help each student develop skills that will enable him or her to be as independent and successful as possible.
Developmental, Individual-Difference, Relationship-Based (DIR)
The DIR/Floortime approach focuses on helping children master the building blocks of relating, communicating and thinking.
The Education of ASD and Related Communication Handicapped Children (TEACCH)
The TEACCH system emphasizes structure by organizing the physical environment. TEACCH uses visual cues, schedules, and work systems to help make expectations clear to students with autism.
Communicating with Others
Communication and socialization are two of the core challenges for students with autism. A student with autism can learn to use symbols, aids, strategies, and techniques to enhance communication. Easterseals can provide a treatment plan combining some or all of the following therapies:
School-aged children with autism can be active participants in all areas of community life, including social and recreational activities. Easterseals programs offer in-home respite, evenings out and other opportunities to participate in recreational activities throughout the year.
Enjoying Family Life
Easterseals expertise provides a variety of diverse training techniques to help school-aged kids with autism learn to recognize social cues and communicate with their family members and in social situations. As with other treatments, this training will vary depending on the individual need.
Summers Off and School Breaks
Easterseals Happiness House offers children and teens with autism the chance to develop lasting friendships and learn what they can do. Participants enjoy adventures and conquer new physical challenges through inclusive community-based after-school and recreation programs. We offer day camps during student vacations from school as well as summer day camp programs.
Preparing for the “Real World”
Most experts recommend that students with ASD begin planning for the transition to the world of work in junior high school or earlier. Working with school-to-work programs, Easterseals helps young adults with autism develop career skills that are clear and measurable.