Although only some of our students have sensory needs that require them to learn in a quieter and smaller environment, we recognize that keeping to a routine and providing outlets for sensory needs are appreciated by all of our students. We establish times during the day for breaks, when some students choose a sensory break to engage in an activity that helps them to be ready for classroom learning. Our school has two spaces, a Beach Room and a Lounge, where students can decompress. We welcome ideas and suggestions from Occupational Therapists and provide headphones, fidgets, scents, and hop balls for student sensory regulation.
All students, in any school setting, need positive acknowledgment for appropriate behavior. We select and integrate the best evidence-based practices for behavioral support. We use a range of positive strategies that emphasize data-driven decision making, environmental considerations, and the teaching and encouragement of prosocial behavior. Our directors and classroom teachers look carefully at individual students to adjust our practices and strategies when necessary. Parent input is also greatly encouraged and appreciated!
We use a large variety of evidence-based strategies. A majority of those strategies are listed below.
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Antecedent Package: These strategies involve the modification of situational events that typically precede the occurrence of a target behavior. These alterations are made to increase the likelihood of success or reduce the likelihood of problems occurring.
Treatments falling into this category reflect research representing the fields of applied behavior analysis (ABA), behavioral psychology, and positive behavior supports. Examples include behavior chain interruption (for increasing behaviors); behavioral momentum; choice; contriving motivational operations; cueing and prompting/prompt fading procedures; environmental enrichment; environmental modification of task demands, social comments, adult presence, familiarity with stimuli; errorless learning; errorless compliance; habit reversal; incorporating echolalia, special interests, thematic activities, or ritualistic/obsessional activities into tasks; maintenance interpersonal; noncontingent access; noncontingent reinforcement; priming; stimulus variation; and time delay.
Behavioral Package: These interventions are designed to reduce problem behavior and teach functional alternative behaviors or skills through the application of basic principles of behavior change. Treatments falling into this category reflect research representing the fields of applied behavior analysis, behavioral psychology, and positive behavior supports. Examples include chaining; contingency contracting; contingency mapping; delayed contingencies; differential reinforcement strategies; discrete trial teaching; functional communication training; generalization training; noncontingent escape with instructional fading; progressive relaxation; reinforcement; shaping; stimulus-stimulus pairing with reinforcement; successive approximation; task analysis; and token economy.
Joint Attention Intervention: These interventions involve building foundational skills involved in regulating the behaviors of others. Joint attention often involves teaching a child to respond to the nonverbal social bids of others or to initiate joint attention interactions. Examples include pointing to objects, showing items/ activities to another person, and following eye gaze.
Modeling: These interventions rely on an adult or peer providing a demonstration of the target behavior that should result in an imitation of the target behavior by the child. Modeling can include simple and complex behaviors. This intervention is often combined with other strategies such as prompting and reinforcement. Examples include live modeling and video modeling.
Naturalistic Teaching Strategies: These interventions involve using primarily child-directed interactions to teach functional skills in the natural environment. These interventions often involve providing a stimulating environment, modeling how to play, encouraging conversation, providing choices and direct/ natural reinforcers, and rewarding reasonable attempts. Examples of this type of approach include but are not limited to focused stimulation, incidental teaching, milieu teaching, embedded teaching, and responsive education and prelinguistic milieu teaching.
Organizational Strategies: We focus on providing all of our children with a structured environment with clear and visual expectations that teach them how to organize materials in a systematic manner, including class materials, homework, and personal belongings. Time is controlled and discussed as a key feature of daily routines.
All students are provided with organizational strategies that promote independence. Supports are customized for the class as a whole, and further individualized to provide the necessary level of support for each student.
Schedules: These interventions involve the presentation of a task list that communicates a series of activities or steps required to complete a specific activity. Schedules are often supplemented by other interventions such as reinforcement. Schedules can take several forms including written words, pictures or photographs, or work stations.
Self-management: These interventions involve promoting independence by teaching children to regulate their behavior by recording the occurrence/non-occurrence of the target behavior, and securing reinforcement for doing so. Initial skills development may involve other strategies and may include the task of setting one’s own goals. In addition, reinforcement is a component of this intervention with the child independently seeking and/or delivering reinforcers. Examples include the use of checklists (using checks, smiley/frowning faces), wrist counters, visual prompts, and tokens.
Story-based Intervention Package: Treatments that involve a written description of the situations under which specific behaviors are expected to occur. Stories may be supplemented with additional components (e.g., prompting, reinforcement, discussion, etc.).
Social Stories™ are the most well-known story based interventions and they seek to answer the “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” and “why” in order to improve perspective-taking