Best Practice In Autism Intervention

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Best Practice In Autism Intervention

Taking from best practices in Autism intervention, Soaring Eagle Academy created comprehensive therapeutic interventions and academic curriculums. The following are the ten universal best-practice features that have been shown to provide a common foundation to all successful intervention programs.

1) Emphasis on earliest possible screening, diagnosis, eligibility for Autism services evaluations and ongoing assessment in the immediate implementation of appropriate effective Autism interventions.

Soaring Eagle Academy has built in evaluations and ongoing assessments to support our understanding of the student, their developmental level, their individual sensory profile and their language capacities in order to be responsive immediately to the implementation and adaptation of necessary interventions. The IRSP (Individualized Regulatory Support Plan) was developed to support this process.

2) Programs are tailored to the needs of each individual with specific adaptations that match the person’s spectrum profile, age, stage of development and emergent potentials.

Soaring Eagle Academy looks at each student as a unique individual with strengths and areas of need. Programs are developed to meet them at their developmental level and then to move them to higher capacities.

3) Highly structured and skill-oriented teaching and treatment programs

Although Soaring Eagle Academy does not use skill-oriented teaching, we look at the individual students needs and offer teaching that is organized and structured to meet the needs of the student. All students have schedules that are supportive in meeting their comprehension needs, regulatory needs and learning needs based on where they are developmentally.

4) Frequent informal reassessment and systematic data-based tracking of skill growth and related plan review and revisions

Soaring Eagle Academy takes daily data on goals developed to promote regulatory capacities, engagement, academic development, motor development, speech and language development and emotional development. The team meets to discuss progress and to make revisions to goals when needed in order to continue to adapt to the changing needs of each student.

5) Use individual motivational strategies and systems (behavioral model motivators are more extrinsic in nature, and developmental model motivators are more intrinsic in nature. Most programs will utilize a certain combination.)

Soaring Eagle Academy believes that true learning and communication are their own reward. When we make communicating easy, students learn that they are competent as communicators and are motivated to communicate further.

6) Teaching areas are structured, organized and distraction-free environments, which incorporate intensive one-to-one and small group sessions. Activities and routines are flexible yet predictable. Time spent waiting is kept to a minimum.

Soaring Eagle Academy develops classroom learning environments keeping in mind the student’s visual spatial needs, motor system and auditory system. Learning areas are individualized and modified based on the unique needs of the student. Schedules, activities and routines throughout the day allow for flexibility in order to meet the individual needs of each student. 

7) Provide multiple settings and consistency of methodology across time and spaces, in at least three and up to six settings, for promoting skills generalization

Soaring Eagle Academy works with students in a range of settings to encourage generalization of capacities. We offer movement throughout our space every day in order for students to experience multiple spaces: music room, art room, sensory gym, mock apartment, lunch room, school store and classrooms. Within those multiple spaces, we offer opportunities for students to share and demonstrate developments acquired across a range of domains.

8) All personnel are well-trained and continuously evaluated for competence and consistency in application of the intervention model used–optimally a family-centered choice with life-span planning

Soaring Eagle Academy has an extensive training protocol for all staff members. Initial and yearly training occurs for all staff and includes in-services on the most current information related to working dynamically with students in a developmental framework. Every week, SEA staff meet for 2 additional hours of on going training about a range of relevant topics (curriculum, language, regulation and engagement, therapeutic interventions, social emotional development). Staff are regularly coached and provided feedback for competence in the application of the intervention model used at SEA. They are formally evaluated yearly by appropriate SEA staff.

9) Comprehensive home programming and parent training within a team approach that seeks to use the family’s talent in a co-treatment model

Soaring Eagle Academy has an open door policy for parents. Parents are included in programming and training specifically in regards to their child, as well as more generalized training about the model used at SEA or related topics. Parents are encouraged to come on site and spend time working with their child and SEA staff as part of a co-treatment model.

10) Intervention strategies are maintained full day and year-round from preschool through adulthood, as provided by our family and respite-care providers and our public and private services and programs.

Soaring Eagle Academy is an intensive therapeutic day school providing a social and academic learning environment 26 hours per week, following a typical school year calendar of 181 days of attendance, with an extended school year summer session of 39 days. The social and educational program is implemented by a comprehensive team of certified professionals with initial and ongoing training in the DIR® Floortime approach, Developmental Language Models and educational best practices. Each student’s team consists of a special education teacher, a one-to-one teacher assistant, speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, social worker/counselor, DIR® specialist, and support staff based on their IEP and therapeutic plan.

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