Potential Adaptive Child Education
At the PACE Centre, we believe in helping our students grow in strength, intelligence, kindness, and compassion. To do this, we offer an integrated learning program that addresses the whole child by meeting his/her academic, behavioral, social, and emotional needs. Using the ABLLS-R system of intervention as the basis for its learning program, the PACE Centre caters to the unique needs of each child and works to strengthen each child’s exceptionality.
Along with an integrated therapy program, each child at the PACE Centre explores academic classes in Literacy, Numeracy, and Science. These classes address the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in today’s world, and because the centre employs a project-based learning (PBL) philosophy, the classes also build the student’s comfort and competency by requiring them to use what they’re learning. Moreover, the hands-on component of the academic classes teaches students how to make the transition between a school subject and its use in their everyday lives; in other words, our students learn how to transfer knowledge to different aspects of their everyday lives.
In addition to Literacy, Numeracy, and Science, each student at the PACE Centre receives Music, Art, Play Therapy, Computer Science, and Physical Education twice a week. These “specials” help the professionals at the centre discover strengths, address weaknesses, and encourage other platforms for communicative purposes. Each of these specials complement the academic subjects and require our students to be active participants in their learning throughout the day.
All students receive Life Skills classes dedicated to providing training and instruction on meeting their daily needs and increasing personal development. Moreover, as students mature, a comprehensive vocational component—BTEC—is added to the complement of classes. Vocational programming is both classroom-based and business-based. In the classroom, students learn work-related skills that they can put into practice in area businesses where they receive on-the-job training opportunities to shadow and/or internship in the areas of, for example: ICT, finance, and customer service.
At the PACE Centre, all students are assigned a homeroom where one teacher and one classroom acts as home base for a small group of students. This provides each student with a sense of routine and comfort, and students are encouraged to seek out their homeroom teacher with issues or concerns.
Our students start each day in homeroom. The homeroom teacher is in charge of all student record-keeping, including keeping a portfolio of each student’s learning goals and progress towards reaching these goals. The homeroom teacher is responsible for the communication journal that moves between the centre and the home, and s/he is the first to respond to parents’ concerns and requests. In other words, the homeroom teacher is the liaison between the centre and the home and acts as the main advocate for his/her students.
Specialization and Teaching Transition
At PACE Centre, we are committed to teaching multiple levels of learning in unique and individual situations. This is intended to optimize the time each student spends in the centre.
For example, each teacher has a specialization at the PACE Centre, bringing to the learning environment their unique expertise and experiences. One teacher; for instance, may teach students Literacy while another may teach Numeracy. By specializing, students come face-to-face each day with a number of teachers. Learning is not associated with one teacher or one room; therefore, but it extends to other contexts as students are taught to transition from one subject to the next, from one teacher to the other, and from one room to the next. These transitions help our students develop contextual and intra-contextual awareness. Learning to feel comfortable in many contexts and with varying voices is as valuable a lesson as learning to read, write, and divide.
Multiple levels of learning can also be seen with the use of technology. Teachers guide students to use a number of platforms that teach communication and strengthen communicative interaction. Thus, teaching the technical aspect of using the computer or social media is done concomitantly with using the tools for communicative purposes; in other words, the skills are not taught in isolation one from the other, but jointly in an effort to strengthen the goals of each. Together with classroom teachers and learning support specialists, students explore these different avenues of interaction in a safe environment.
At PACE Centre, we use adaptive scheduling to meet the unique goals of each student in the learning environment. All academic classes, for example, are separated by break, lunch, or one of the specials; in other words, no two academic classes will ever come one right after the other. The careful placement of classes helps students:
- Remain interested and alert during classes;
- Alternate between being more stationery and becoming more active in their learning;
- Build mental break times into the day without breaking from active learning;
- Resist becoming overly stimulated; and,
- Practice social skills among peers and the adults in the centre.
In addition, adaptive scheduling allows shorter time periods for yoga, meditation, outside play, library, and quiet time when necessary. Teachers and students optimize their time together by structuring the day in a way that provides flexibility to address the unique needs of our students.
A Glimpse into A PACE Centre Student’s Day
ABLLS-R and AFLS
The ABLLS-R and the AFLS:
Assessments, Curricula and Skills Tracking Systems that Work Together to Guide Programming for Individuals with Autism or Other Developmental Delays
Individuals with a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder or other developmental delay require a highly individualized intervention to help them develop the critical skills necessary to promote their participation in family and community activities to the fullest extent possible. Research has clearly demonstrated that these individuals benefit from well-designed and strategically implemented teaching programs that focus on the development of specific skills. It is important that the selection of skills, that are a part of an individualized intervention program, focus both on the developmental language and also on other basic skills that facilitate maximum learning from everyday experiences and interactions with others. Additionally, it is important that the learner is able to use those newly acquired skills during his daily activities.
The Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills (The ABLLS-R) revolutionized the ease of programming so that hundreds of skills within 25 different skill areas could be assessed, tracked visually, and used as a curriculum to teach language and basic learning skills. The focus of the ABLLS®-R is early language acquisition, verbal behavior, and very early learning concepts and readiness skills. It also provides a review of a learner’s early academic, basic self-help, and motor skills. The language skills and other basic learner skills that are tracked by this tool are those that are acquired by most typically developing children by the time they reach four to five years of age. If this level of skill development is achieved by individuals with developmental delays before reaching five to six years of age, many of these children can proceed to participate in regular education programs.
The ABLLS-R “assess, track, and teach” model is trusted, familiar, and widely used around the world. Even though it covers many self help skills often acquired by young children (i.e., eating, dressing, grooming, and toileting), it was not intended to provide a comprehensive review of the broad range of functional skills (skills that must be done by others if learner is unable to do them). These skills are needed by individuals both at a young age and as adults. Therefore, an additional assessment was developed as a continuum to support and guide parents, caregivers, educators, and other professionals to develop comprehensive and practical functional skills programs.
The Assessment of Functional Living Skills (The AFLS) is a criterion-referenced assessment that was created as an extension of the ABLLS-R. The AFLS is an assessment, skills tracking system, and curriculum guide for the development of essential skills for achieving independence. The formatting is similar to the ABLLS-R. It can be used to demonstrate a learner’s current functional skill repertoire and provide tracking information for the progressive development of these functional skills throughout the lifespan. Thus, The AFLS contains task analyses of many of the skills essential for participation in a wide range of family, school, community, and work environments and can be used simultaneously with the ABLLS-R.
The AFLS is comprised of multiple documents including The AFLS Guide and six unique assessment modules: Basic Living Skills, Home Skills, Community Participation Skills, School Skills, Vocational Skills, and Independent Living Skills. Each assessment module contains eight different skills areas that thoroughly assess the functional skills across a wide range of settings throughout a learner’s lifespan. Every module of The AFLS is designed to ensure that parents, caregivers and professionals provide learners with the very best opportunities to learn how to do tasks for themselves in a broad array of real-world settings; thus achieving a greater level of independence and an improved quality of life.
Taken from: Partington Behavior Analysis
BTECs are career-based qualifications designed to give students the skills they need to move on to higher education or go straight into employment.
When combined with academic learning in a school or college (or as a stand-alone course in further or higher education), a BTEC develops a range of practical knowledge and skills which help learners to prepare for – and progress in – their chosen career.
Classroom style teaching combined with project work and practical, work-related activities help to develop students' behavioral skills, which can include teamwork, creative thinking and presentation skills.
Taken from: Pearson