Brick school board members will vote this week on the submission of a new early elementary school autism program to the Ocean County schools superintendent for approval.
The program will provided to students ages six and seven, and will fill several “unmet needs,” according to the submission document. The new program would “increase opportunities for discrete trial instruction, social skills instruction, activities for daily living and behavior reduction,” a description said. It would also give the district the ability to collect required data that “influences instructional, behavioral, social decisions and adaptations.” Finally, the program would introduce autism-specific professional development for staff.
A total of six students will benefit from the program in its first year, the document states, and will allow them to be in the least restrictive environment as required by federal law. The program will allow the Brick district to keep the students within the local schools instead of sending them to private schools that are often located far away and come at a high cost. Another goal is to allow children with autism to interact more frequently with general education students.
“Each child’s unique profile will be considered when IEP teams discuss opportunities for inclusive learning,” the planning document said. “This may pertain to subjects of high interest or aptitude, specials, times of community gatherings (assembly, pep-rally), HPE and lunch.”
Overall, children with autism will be able to better utilize school facilities, including resource rooms, inclusion classes and general education settings where appropriate.
The program will be led by one certified special education teacher and and three instruction aides, who will be trained as registered behavior technicians.
The program will be the subject of a vote at the school board meeting this Thursday. It begins at 7 p.m. at the Professional Development Center, located adjacent to the board office on Hendrickson Avenue. More information on the program can be found here and here.