Overview:

At the Lifeskills and Education for Students with Autism and Pervasive Behavioral Challenges (LEAP) Program, our mission is to ensure each of our students gains the independence and skills necessary to fully participate in school, community, workplace, and home life.

Our specialized autism program is a nonpublic special education day program approved by the Maryland State Department of Education.

We offer a range of educational and therapeutic services for students with complex academic, communication, social, and behavioral needs. Our program emphasizes the development of lifelong skills through an active approach to learning, including participation in community and work-based learning opportunities that allow them to apply skills outside of the classroom.

Who We Serve:

We provide education and related services to students ages 5-21 with autism, intellectual disability, speech and language impairments, other health impairments, and multiple disabilities.

Students are typically referred and funded by their local school system; however, privately placed out-of-state and international students can also be enrolled. Students work toward earning a Certificate of Completion.

Our Approach:

Our curriculum focuses on building essential skills based on standards and curricula identified by the Maryland State Department of Education. Students are also educated in subjects including physical education, health, social skills, career exploration and vocational skills.

Our yearlong, 12-month program includes accommodations, modifications, adaptations and supplementary supports carefully chosen to meet each student’s individual needs. Our classrooms are well-equipped with a variety of interactive technologies, such as smart boards and iPads, that support instruction.

What Sets Us Apart:

  • Work-Based Learning:
    Work-based learning is incorporated into each student’s schedule through a variety of activities. Instruction and training in core job skills are facilitated by our vocational teacher, as well as at off-site businesses. On-campus jobs have included working as a front office assistant, making deliveries, recycling and participating in a student-run café. Off-campus sites have included a retirement community, a yoga studio, a farm, offices and restaurants.

  • Community-Based Instruction:
    Our students participate in regular community-based instruction, which provides them with opportunities to apply academic skills outside the classroom with developing socialization and practical problem-solving skills in a more natural environment. Students learn to shop at local stores, dine in restaurants, take public transportation and access other community services.

  • Assessment of Progress:
    We believe effective, timely and target assessment of student progress is critical to their success. Our teachers and staff regularly evaluate the progress of each child, assessing the direction and pace of instruction and any related service supports needed to facilitate progress.

  • Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports:
    We provide a vast range of positive behavioral supports that encourage students to maintain their focus on cooperation, completion of tasks and appropriate social interactions.

    For students who need additional support, individualized behavior intervention plans are developed to help replace problem behaviors. Behavior specialists are assigned to each student to monitor treatment effectiveness. We also offer crisis intervention to students who are experiencing behavioral difficulties and need help returning to instruction or work-based learning activities.

  • Transition Planning:
    Transition planning begins are soon as a student enters the LEAP Program. Transition teams composed of school staff, parents and representatives from workplaces and community support agencies approach each student’s IEP with a focus on where they’re heading and the skills they’ll need to succeed.

  • Student Life:
    Our campus features a custom-designed playground that addresses social skill development and the unique motor and sensory needs of students with autism.

    Throughout the year, students participate in various extracurricular activities designed to enhance their school experiences. Examples include musical performances, school-wide career days, community-based trips, and holiday or theme-related activities and assemblies.

  • Our Team:
    Our staff includes highly trained special educators, curriculum specialists, related service providers and paraprofessional staff who receive ongoing training in evidence-based practices. Among our staff specialties are: aquatic instruction, art and music therapy, assistive technology, behavioral supports, counseling and mental health services, physical therapy, psychology and speech-language pathology.