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Autism: Characteristics By Age
Achievements Therapeutic Day Program
About Our Program:
The Achievements Therapeutic Day Program offers four different intervention options, enabling us to provide individualized treatment in small-group settings to children under age six. Our comprehensive approach focuses on the most challenging areas for these children: communication, social, emotional, and self-regulatory development. Using best-practice approaches, including Applied Behavior Analysis and others anchored in developmental sciences, we make the classroom not only a place of learning, but also a place to form friendships. We strongly encourage parent involvement through observation, training, and team meetings. By encouraging and teaching children to apply their skills outside of clinical settings, we help children and their families to prepare for the transition into school-age years.
About Achievements Groups:
Achievements Groups are supervised by a certified speech-language pathologist and therapeutic assistant. Student-to-leader ratios are low and parent involvement is encouraged. In this setting, the program provides an enriching environment for social discovery through language mastery. Through careful individualization of objectives and best-practice treatment methods, our goal is for the classroom to become not only a place for learning, but a place to form friendships. Children are active participates in theme-based learning activities that provide a motivating context for targeting individualized goals and general language, social and cognitive skills. Children immediately apply what they are learning in multiple contexts.
Achievements appreciates the individual strengths of each child and combines various aspects of the most recent, research-based therapeutic techniques in order to create a program that fits each child's needs. Multiple teaching methods, systems and approaches are incorporated, including the following:
- Tasks are broken down into discrete, sequential steps to teach new skills using an antecedent-behavior-consequence model.
- Routines-based teaching in structured activities highlights salient information while providing repeated practice with mastered and emerging concepts.
- Skills are taught across settings and individuals to promote generalization to a more natural environment.
- Behaviors are shaped by reinforcing successive approximations toward the desired goal.
- Teaching fundamental behaviors, such as motivation and responsivity to multiple cues, which allow children to acquire multiple other behaviors, so that improvement occurs in other areas without being directly targeted.
- Incidental teaching -- a structured teaching approach -- is designed to seize the "teachable moment" by following a child's lead, activities and interests during play.
- Teaching units are planned around communicative functions such as "Greetings" or "Gaining Attention." Social stories and scripts are used to help children understand what behaviors are expected of them in social situations.
- A highly visual environment is created by utilizing photographs, symbols and written words to scaffold language to create a consistent and predictable sequence of events, to support transitions and to clarify task demands.
- Low-technology augmentative communication systems are implemented as needed to promote verbal language and emphasize the importance of initiation on the part of the child.
- Sensory integration techniques are used to assist children in establishing and maintaining optimal readiness for learning.
Parents who are interested in having their children attend the program participate in a brief screening to determine the most appropriate group placement.
For more information about the Achievements Therapeutic Day Program, please contact Sharon Riccitelli at (443) 923-7880 or Riccitelli@kennedykrieger.org. You will be sent a registration form to complete. Once the form is completed, we will call you to set up a screening. The Achievements Program is part of CARD at Kennedy Krieger Institute.