The Spectrum Early Intervention is a comprehensive day treatment program designed to serve children between 3 and 5 years of age with autism spectrum disorders including classic autism, Asperger’s disorder, and pervasive development disorder NOS. As such, every child in the Spectrum program presents with a unique profile of strengths and weaknesses therefore requires individualized services that begin with a clinically sound assessment. It is understood that children with autism do not come to their desk, sit willingly in their chair, and ready to learn. They are by nature, non-cooperative hence have the need for a specialized curriculum that utilizes a variety of evidence based intervention strategies. Using a highly structured predictable daily schedule, the Spectrum EI program promotes growth in socialization, language development and communication skills, academic and school behavior readiness training, gross and fine motor development along with adaptive behaviors and sensory integration skills.
The multi-systemic facets of the Spectrum Early Intervention program include the following aspects:
- Year Round Intensive 1:1 Instruction 4 hours per day, 5 days per week
- Closed Circuit Video Monitoring for Observation and Training
- Guided Small Group Early Play
- Social Skills Training
- Assessment based Verbal Behavior Training
- Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and American Sign Language (ASL)
- Behavior Intervention Implementation and Development
- Adaptive Behavior Training and Self-Help Skills
- Consultation Services for Speech-Language Development
- Consultation Services for Occupational Therapy and Sensory Integration Plans
- SRA Direct Instruction for Kindergarten Readiness
- Community Based Learning Opportunities
- Parent Training and Support Services
The admissions process for the Spectrum Early Intervention Program includes the submission of a completed application, a play based session in the natural environment, an interview with the family, a records review, and tour of the facility that includes a program orientation for new families. The Spectrum Early Intervention Program accepts referrals from public and private school districts, social service agencies, and other network providers with students accepted for placement on a case-by-case basis. In addition, all Spectrum programs are operated and managed by Spectrum Consulting Services, LLC, an approved private provider for the Ohio Department of Education, Autism Scholarship Program. The Spectrum Early Intervention Program recruits and admits ASD students of any gender, race, color, national or ethnic origin, age, ancestry, and religion.
The initial functional assessment process usually takes approximately two weeks. For our earliest learners, the Early Learner Accomplishment Profile (ELAP) and the Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills (ABLLS) are administered by “pairing,” rather than actual testing. In the pairing process, a member of our staff evaluates the student by joining in preferred activities, noting behaviors and making small requests of our newest student. As data is collected the results are used to design an individualized schedule of reinforcement based on student interest and degree of motivation to perform tasks. All interactions during the assessment phase are child lead with positive reinforcement used for following simple routines and demonstrating appropriate behavior. During the assessment phase, planned ignoring of challenging behavior is used. Research had demonstrated that this method has shown to be the most effective approach to improving the lives of children with autism. In addition to the ABLLS and ELAP, the Adaptive Behavior Assessment System-II (ABAS) is completed by the parent to identify the student’s area of functionality and to identify adaptive skills in need of intervention.
Individualized Supplemental Support Plan (ISSP)
Following the initial assessment phase, Spectrum supervisory staff review the Individualized Education Plan and meet with the student’s family to design a student supplemental plan that follows the student throughout the Spectrum programming. The Spectrum ISSP includes targeted goals and benchmarks that are subject to progress monitoring techniques that generate outcome data for each student. Each new skill identified in the ISSP undergoes a task analysis that is based upon the student’s existing repertoire. When introduced, the student’s behavior is shaped by giving positive reinforcement at predetermined check points and monitored for skill acquisition. As new skills are acquired, students are gradually introduced to small group interactions and paired social situations for the development of positive peer interactions. Tantrums, meltdowns, and misbehavior are managed by determining the function of the behavior and designing interventions that decrease inappropriate behaviors while increasing alternative replacement behaviors. Home-school communication, sensory integration and diets, motivation assessments for positive behavior support planning are all features of the Spectrum EI program and incorporated into the ISSP. The end purpose of the supplemental plan is to prepare the student in all areas of development for success in the home and learning environment.
Specialized Instructional Programs
The Spectrum Early Intervention presents an instructional program that is designed to remediate and enhance the academic, motor, behavior, language and communication, self-help, and social skills of our early learners. The Spectrum EI daily program schedule provides each student the opportunity to engage in a variety of curricula and intervention based activities to ensure that all areas of deficit will be addressed. Basals are established in seven domains and monitored at least quarterly through observation and skill assessment. The framework employed by Spectrum integrates research design methods and materials within a best practices implementation model for the effective delivery of our services. To complement the core curriculum of Science Research and Associates Direct Instruction, Spectrum utilizes Early Childhood Skillstreaming to teach an array of social skills that improve the student’s social behavior both at home and in the school setting. In addition to the scripted curriculum, the Spectrum EI program prepares each student to engage in pro-social behaviors using an innovative teaching model that demonstrates, shapes, and generalizes new behaviors into the community via recreational and life skills outings.
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