S.P.I.C.E. (Social, Pragmatics, Independence, Communication, and Emotional Regulation)
For children with autism spectrum and related disorders with more intensive needs, self-contained classes are offered at the preschool, elementary and secondary level. Methodology within these classes is driven by each child’s individualized needs and could include a variety of techniques proven effective for children with autism (i.e. Structured Teaching, Applied Behavior Analysis, Picture Exchange Communication System, Visual Supports, Task Analysis, etc.).
Students that benefit most from this program model are working on developing skills across developmental domains, including language, socialization, cognition, self-help, and fine/gross motor. Small group or one-on-one learning sessions are utilized to address goal instruction, using teaching strategies aligned with principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (i.e. Discrete Trial Teaching and Pivotal Response Teaching). A highly-structured environment and consistent routines provide predictability. Building a foundation of academic skills and increasing independence in functional activities is a focus in the classroom. Individualized visual supports and reinforcement systems are incorporated throughout activities.
Students that most successfully participate in this program model are at or approaching grade-level academic standards, are able to use conversational language, require minimal prompts to perform adaptive skills, and demonstrate an interest in peer activities. Students are able to learn new skills during small and whole group instruction, but require some support to use these skills appropriately across people, settings, and activities. Academic instruction and social opportunities are provided in inclusive settings whenever appropriate, with a focus on reducing adult support. Instruction related to social skills, language concepts, emotional regulation, and academics is available in the SPICE classroom, and individualized visual supports and reinforcement systems are available across settings.
Itinerant Autism Resource (I-ART) is an additional layer of specialized social/behavioral supports provided to students with autism eligibility who receive all or most of their instruction in the general education classroom at their home school. These students receive pullout social skills instruction each week and may also participate in structured activities with typical peers (e.g. recess games, lunch groups, etc.). The I-ART teachers may also assist with the development and implementation of interventions to support executive functioning skills such as organization, classroom independence, and self-regulation, etc.