All AHRC New York City programs utilize specialized programming – interventions and treatments. Many of the techniques and curricula were actually developed specifically for the increasing numbers of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but are useful to children with all types of special learning needs.
The field of autism treatments has greatly expanded in the last thirty years. These interventions and treatments have been studied and evaluated by professionals with the goal of determining the most effective ways to provide instruction, reduce challenging behavior, improve communication, and remediate self-care deficits. The methodologies and treatments that constitute best practice for working with individuals with autism spectrum disorders are recognized by experts in the field.
The AHRC New York City schools only employ research-supported interventions and methods for supporting persons with ASD and other disabilities. Our Specialized Programming outlines the various strategies utilized in AHRC New York City schools and provides information regarding their efficacy and their implementation in the classrooms.
Applied Behavior Analysis
ABA is the process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles of learning theory. The goal of using ABA is to improve socially significant behaviors to a meaningful degree.
Verbal Behavior is a communication theory that proposes that language, like any other observable action, is a learned behavior that can be acquired, developed, and sustained through the application of behavioral strategies, (prompting, reinforcing, planned ignoring, etc.).
Functional Behavioral Assessment and Functional Analysis
Functional Behavioral Assessment helps educators to understand the function(s) of the behavior. Then educators can design interventions to teach appropriate replacement behavior(s). A more formalized process of identifying the function of a behavior is called a Functional Analysis, (FA). An FA is a more clinical approach to determining which of the four functions is maintaining the behavior. In our schools, only highly-trained Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) are responsible for conducting FAs.
The STAR Program (Strategies for Teaching based on Autism Research) is a school-based system that teaches children with ASD the critical skills needed to succeed in school and the community through the implementation of evidence-based practices in the classrooms.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication, (AAC) includes devices, methods, or systems used to supplement speech or when speech has not developed or has been lost. AAC devices and methods can be extremely beneficial for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and for students with other disabilities who have not yet developed language or who struggle to use language effectively.
PECS is an AAC system used to teach functional communication skills to those of all ages and disabilities. PECS uses pictures icons and motivating items to teach individuals to make requests. Over the progressive PECS phases, learners acquire the ability to form sentences, make appropriate comments, and answer questions.
Word/Sign is an adapted form of sign language that provides both an expressive and receptive system for communication, specifically developed and is copy-righted by AHRC New York City. Word/Sign employs the use of signs and words along with facial expression and body language.
Students with autism often have difficulties generalizing skills learned in the classroom. These weaknesses hurt independence, inclusion, and employment. Community-based Instruction (CBI) supports educational programming in natural, community environments.
Transition and Person-Centered Planning
Transition planning begins as soon as a student enters the AHRC New York City Middle/High School. All activities are designed to increase responsibilities and independence. Emphasis is placed on improving employment potential and options. Appropriate behaviors in school, home, and community are taught. Self-advocacy skills and independent living skills are developed.