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LEAP Program (Lifeskills and Education for Students with Autism and other Pervasive Behavioral Challenges)
Kennedy Krieger School: Greenspring Campus • 3825 Greenspring Ave. • Baltimore, MD 21211
- The School Programs at Kennedy Krieger Institute has been named a 2012 Leadership and Innovation in Special Education Awardee by the National Association of Private Special Education Centers (NAPSEC).
- Thanks to the generosity and hard work of Kennedy Krieger Institute, LEAP staff, student families, and the community, students at LEAP are now enjoying a specially designed playground. The LEAP playground equipment is specifically designed with an emphasis on social skill development. It also addresses the unique motor and sensory needs of the students. Read more
The LEAP Program is raising money for a new school van. We use the van to take students into the community for hands-on instruction and vocational experiences as curricular components of Community-Based Instruction and Work-Based Learning. If you are interested in contributing to this fundraising effort, please contact LEAP administration at 443-923-4576. Thank you for helping us unlock our students’ potential!
The Kennedy Krieger School LEAP Program serves students on the severe end of the autism spectrum who struggle with behavioral challenges. It is an intensive, 12-month program that focuses on providing a highly structured and safe environment that helps students to participate in and derive benefit from educational programming.
The LEAP Program is an approved Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) non-public day program. The program serves students between the ages of 5 - 21. All students attending LEAP are referred by their local school system (LSS). LEAP has a capacity of 65 students in 10 classrooms. The program is richly staffed with certified professionals and highly qualified paraprofessionals. The classrooms have a high staff to student ratio in which students have access to 1:1 instruction and assistance, as needed.
Transportation is provided by the LSS.
Developing functional independence is a primary goal of the program. Students are provided with opportunities to maximize independence. Educational strategies such as TEACCH are used to develop student skills in this area.
Academic instruction is based on the individualized needs of students as outlined on their IEP, as well as the Maryland Voluntary State Curriculum. A variety of evidence-based instructional approaches (e.g., Applied Behavior Analysis, Community-Based Instruction, TEACCH) are used to assist students with gaining, maintaining and generalizing academic skills. Academic instruction is provided in both small group and one-to-one formats.
The LEAP Program uses the Maryland Career Development Framework as a guide for its vocational/transition curriculum. The program provides opportunities for students to experience work tasks across industry clusters and to increase skills necessary for a variety of vocations.
Speech/Language services are an integral part of instruction, focusing on the establishment of functional language skills through the use of both low and high-tech augmentative communication systems, increasing vocalizations and improving articulation and social language skills. Services and instruction emphasize independence in communication during curricular and community activities. PROMPT, PECS, SCERTS and Floor Time are some techniques that are utilized by therapists and teachers when working with the students.
Assessment of Progress
Ongoing assessment of progress is done through regular data collection for IEP goals and informal assessments for academic units. The program uses the Alternate Maryland School Assessment (Alt-MSA) to assess students' skills in relation to the Voluntary State Curriculum and Core Learning Goals.
Related services identified on each student's individualized education plan (IEP) are offered. These services may be delivered in pullout, embedded and consultative formats. These include, but are not limited to the following:
- Speech/ Language Pathology
- Occupational Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- School Health Services
- Assistive Technology
- Expressive Arts
- Counseling/Mental Health Services
Related services are provided along with other services that allow students to progress throughout their instructional day. These include:
- Sensory Integration: Through consultation with the occupational therapist, students are provided with opportunities to modulate their arousal levels throughout the school day and assist them to become more attentive and available for learning. Students are assessed for their individual sensory needs and provided with individualized activities and environmental modifications that are embedded into lessons. Additionally, the Verizon Multi-Sensory Room is a state-of-the-art multi-sensory environment that was developed with a $25,000 grant from the Verizon Corporation. Many students successfully utilize the room for therapies, academic learning activities and behavioral calming programs.
- Expressive Therapy: The LEAP Program provides programmatic expressive arts therapies (art and music) which enhance academic, social and emotional development.
- Wellness: Students participate in an aquatics and fitness program which promotes wellness and physical development.
Positive Behavior Intervention:
Dedicated behavior resource staff work closely with the classroom and related services staff to integrate skill development as a primary component of successful behavior management. Functional Behavioral Assessments (FBAs) are used to develop Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs) that focus on proactive strategies. In addition, LEAP staff members undergo training in safe crisis management procedures.
LEAP employs a multidisciplinary team approach to program design and implementation. Team members have regular opportunities to collaborate on individual students. Social workers are assigned to assist in team coordination and to serve as a liaison with the family as case manager.
Work Based Learning
On-campus work based learning (WBL) opportunities are part of the vocational curriculum. Students ages 16 and up have access to off-campus work based learning opportunities. Partnerships with local businesses allow our students to participate in developing vocational skills in the natural environment.
Work based learning opportunities may include:
- Making all occasion and holiday cards/Card sales
- Weekly food preparation and sale
- Breakfast and lunch distribution
- On-campus stocking and deliveries
- Office plant care
- Cleaning services at local businesses
- Dining room set up at local businesses
- Grounds maintenance and horticulture services at a local arboretum
- Packing and sorting of food at a local food bank
Preparation for the Future:
Students are provided the opportunity to participate in instruction by traveling in the community to participate in recreational activities, shop at local stores, eat at local restaurants, and use community services (e.g., post office). This encourages them to generalize their academic, social and recreational skills in the natural environment.
The LEAP program provides opportunities for students and parents to participate in school activities throughout the year. These annual events include:
- Parent Luncheon
- Spring Fling
- Musical Performances
- Field trips
- Race for Education Fundraiser
- School Pictures