Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism, According to the Ohio State Operating Standards, means a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction generally evident before age three that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences.
Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s (CMSD), Special Education Division is currently developing the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Program for students with Autism. Our mission for students with Autism is to provide a full continuum of programming and services unique to the needs of each student, using interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary approaches to facilitate the development of social, communication, academic, sensory, daily living, and behavioral skills, resulting in more opportunities for full participation in work and recreational activities as adults.
Programming includes full inclusion in general education classrooms, inclusion in cross-categorical classes, part-time inclusion in general education classes, and self-contained, highly structured classrooms. Ages of students with ASD range between 5 and 22 years of age with no more than a five-year age span per classroom. The teachers, instructional assistants, therapists, and parents comprise the team that meets regularly to discuss and develop strategies specific to each child. Therapy services, both speech/language and occupational, are delivered to the students directly in , either individual or small group, and/or through collaboration with the team. In order to meet the unique and specialized needs of students, each self-contained class will have six to eight children, one certified teacher, and two paraprofessionals. In addition, the team will be able to invite other specialists such as those skilled in the use of augmentative/alternative communication devices, behavior management, social work, and/or sensory integration to enhance the work of the team and bring comprehensive services to the child.
Staff members are provided extensive in-service training related to understanding the nature and treatment of students with Autism. Training includes a variety of methods such as: Applied Behavior Analysis, Functional Behavior Assessment, Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children (TEACCH), Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), Sensory Integration, and Crisis Intervention. A review of a variety of methods with consideration given to the best method for a specific child has proven to be the best strategy for treatment and education.
Children are placed in the program based upon diagnoses, evaluation results and team decision. An included medical diagnosis by the child’s specialist assists the education team in identifying characteristics and needs from the medical perspective. Evaluation indicates the child’s current level of performance and identifies educational needs. The team decides eligibility for services and assists with placement decisions.
Manager, Low Incidence