Structured Learning Classroom

The Structured Learning Classroom (SLC) at AYA is a specially designed environment with the express purpose of meeting the educational, behavioral, communication, social, and sensory needs of students on the autism spectrum or students with significant needs. The typical classroom teacher to student ratio is 2:4, with a variety of specialists targeting specific needs for individual students. The SLC provides instruction in all general and Judaic subjects, as well as targeted social, behavioral, adaptive, and communication skills. The SLC educational philosophy is based on a hybrid model where educators and specialists design a program based on the individual needs of each child.

 

Below are some of the techniques utilized in the SLC.

  • Applied Behavior Analysis: ABA is a systematic approach that assesses and evaluates a student’s behavior and applies interventions to try and alter behavior. From understanding a behavior’s function to controlling the student’s environment, ABA has been shown to be successful in shaping students’ behavior.
  • Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children (TEACCH): The TEACCH method of instruction emphasizes the structure of the classroom, with separate, defined areas for each learning task. Instruction relies heavily upon visual learning.
  • Functional Communication Training: A set of practices that replace challenging behavior that has a communication function with more appropriate and effective communication behaviors or skills.
  • Social Stories: Interventions that describe social situations in order to highlight relevant features of a target behavior or skill and offer examples of appropriate responding.
  • Modeling/Video Modeling: Modeling of the desired target behavior that results in the use of the behavior by the learner and acquisition of target behavior.
  • Prompting: Verbal, gestural, or physical assistance given to learners to support them in acquiring or engaging in a targeted behavior or skill.
  • Reinforcement: The application of a consequence following a learner’s use of a response or skills that increase the likelihood that the learner will use the response/skills in the future.
  • Functional Behavioral Assessment: An FBA is a systematic way of determining the underlying function or purpose of behavior so that an effective intervention plan can be developed.
  • Sensory Integration: Interventions that target a person’s ability to integrate sensory information (visual, auditory, tactile, proprioceptive, and vestibular) from their body and environment in order to respond using organized and adaptive behavior. AYA boasts a comprehensive sensory/motor lab.
  • Discrete Trial Training: DTT uses positive reinforcement to focus on changing skills and behaviors by breaking each one down into smaller steps that are taught along with prompts until the student masters the steps required to perform a particular skill or behavior.
  • Prompting: Verbal, gestural, or physical assistance given to learners to support them in acquiring or engaging in a targeted behavior or skill.
  • Reinforcement: The application of a consequence following a learner’s use of a response or skills that increase the chance that the learner will use the response/skills in the future.
  • Exercise and Movement: EXMs are interventions that use physical exertion, specific motor skills/ techniques, or mindful movement to target a variety of skills and behaviors.
  • Peer-Based Instruction and Intervention: Intervention in which peers directly promote social interactions and/or other individual learning goals, or the teacher organizes the social context, social network, and when necessary provides support to the child with autism and their peer to engage in social interactions.
  • Response Interruption/Redirection: The introduction of a prompt, comment, or other distractions when an interfering behavior is occurring that is designed to divert the learner’s attention away from the interfering behavior and results in its reduction.
  • Time Delay: A practice used to systematically fade the use of prompts during instructional activities by using a brief delay between the initial instruction and any additional instructions or prompts.
  • Visual Supports: A visual display that supports the learner engaging in a desired behavior or skill independent of additional prompts.