With the population of students needing specialized instruction growing, the importance of program development to meet these needs cannot be underestimated. In addition to providing a variety of options within district, it is important to recognize when an individual child requires intensive instruction that can only be provided in self-contained settings. Successful special education programs (whether in- or out-of-district) include individualized instruction that provides the student the opportunity to function in the least restrictive environment as possible, evidence-based curriculum, highly qualified teachers and staff, high level of supports, effective staff development, a multi-disciplinary approach to learning (teachers, parents, students, coordinators, behaviorists, and related service providers work together to achieve a students maximum potential).
A program model that adheres to or incorporates the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis, and a commitment to providing a positive and rewarding learning experience to the students in a warm, nurturing environment will typically provide this type of service.
Successful programs must incorporate the following domains of behavior in the studentís IEP (but are not limited to):
learning readiness and pre academic skills;
communication (receptive and expressive);
cognitive and academic skills (reading, writing, mathematics);
daily living skills (self-help, home living)
socialization and leisure skills (independent, cooperative, and symbolic play);
motor (gross and fine motor);
pre vocational, vocational skills and community living skills;
reduction of challenging behaviors that interfere with learning.