Certified Education Program
Autism Services’ Education Program is certified by the New York State Education Department to provide full-year school services to children ages 5 through 21. We provide individualized instruction founded in respect and creativity. (Please note, this is not a residential school program.)
Our classes are 6:1:3 structured with additional support staff. We have two locations, in Amherst and Buffalo. The program has been in operation since 1989. A typical day includes academic work, therapy sessions, art and music classes, and adaptive physical education classes. Students benefit regularly from recreational activities such as trips to restaurants, swimming, shopping, volunteer or paid vocational work in the community, and other community-based activities. Skills learned in the classroom are applied to real-life experiences.
- 100% of students have likes and interests included in instruction. We utilize highly differentiated instruction, the curriculum is modified for each student to meet their individual needs.
- The majority of our students require fewer physical interventions after participation in our school. Our goal is to understand the underlying reasons for behavior and appropriately meet students’ needs.
Clinical Services: Speech Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Positive Support
All members of the Clinical Team:
- Attend team meetings
- Participate in CSE (committee on special education) meetings
- Consult with parents, teachers, staff, and therapists from other disciplines
- Work cooperatively within the interdisciplinary treatment team
Speech Language Therapy
Speech-Language Pathology Clinicians deliver direct-therapy services to students in accordance with the students’ Individualized Education Programs (IEP). Speech-Language Pathologists:
- Develop goals that target improvement in specific need areas identified in speech-language assessments
- Use individualized approaches
- Obtain and support use of assistive, augmentative communication devices (PECS, DynaVox, Chat, PC, etc.)
- Support generalization of communication skills across environments
Occupational Therapy is provided by a team of licensed occupational therapists and assistants. Occupational Therapy provided at Autism Services is sensory-based, and the general goals of therapy are:
- Promotion of independence in daily-living skills
- Enhancement of ability to cope with task demands and environmental stimuli
- Development of a repertoire of effective relaxation techniques
- Integration of the sensory system
- To decrease sensory defensiveness
- Development of social skills
Physical Therapy treatment strategies assist students in accessing their environment successfully. A Physical Therapist will conduct a comprehensive evaluation to determine their individual needs. Physical therapy can assist in the following ways:
- Improving sitting posture, endurance, and body awareness
- Increasing independence in locating and accessing important rooms
- Improving safety and control during transitions to and from the floor
- Gaining new motor skills for improved participation in physical education (jumping, hopping, galloping, skipping)
- Negotiating stairs, curbs, buses and other obstacles
- Promoting safety awareness
- Increasing one’s ability to follow multi-step directions during motor tasks
- Improving self-management and equipment management skills
- Promoting cardiovascular endurance
- Improving muscular strength and joint range of motion for optimal movement throughout the day
- Providing sensory input to improve one’s attention to a task
Autism Services views any form of behavior as communication. When communication is not easy for others to understand, our Positive Support Professionals identify what our students are trying to communicate and what needs might be going unmet. When our students are understood and their needs are met, they thrive. Just like all of us. Positive Support Professionals provide sound data collection, careful observation, collaborative team approaches, and deep empathy.
Many service providers maintain a “Behavior Department.” Our purposeful omission of the term “behavior” and the negative perceptions associated with it, is a reflection of our agency’s guiding principles. The word “behavior” carries a negative connotation that inherently diminishes the respect our students deserve. At Autism Services, we believe behavior is neither “good” nor “bad,” and we extend this philosophy to every person we work with in all of our services. Please join us in celebration of communication, positive support, and respectful understanding of one another.