Autism Academy

Academics » Specialized Services

Specialized Services

Adaptive Physical Education

At the Academy for the Advancement of Children with Autism we offer adaptive physical education for children in need of these services. Adaptive physical education utilizes a wide range of multi-sensory equipment selected to "entice" participation and develop play skills. Successful teaching strategies focus on facilitating communication and transitioning between activities.

Our staff is fully credentialed and has many years of experience working with children that have a variety of disabilities. We offer within group sessions as well as individual and private sessions.

Applied Behavior Analysis

Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) originates from the behavioral school of psychology of B. F. Skinner. It was developed as a treatment modality for autism by California researcher Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas more than 25 years ago and is still one of the most widely adapted forms of early-intervention therapy for young autistic children.

While typical children learn from the environment and through emulation, it is believed that children with autism must be taught language, play, and social skills in a highly structured environment. ABA is loosely based on the concept that behavior rewarded is more likely to be repeated than behavior ignored. Through positive reinforcement the child is helped to develop language; a variety of appropriate behaviors and responses; and personal care, play, and educational skills.

Children in ABA therapy usually work one-on-one with a team of ABA-trained therapists for 30 to 40 hours a week. The approach, involving what is called discrete trials, consists of tasks the child is requested to perform broken down into specific acts. Correct and appropriate responses from the child are rewarded by the therapist. Early success may simply be the child having eye contact with the therapist after being instructed to “look at me.” Over time, the child progresses through many different programs, each teaching one specific behavior or skill based on typical child development. Parents and caregivers are considered part of the therapeutic team. They help the child practice in natural settings the skills learned through ABA so that they become generalized in daily life.

Within the framework of “Positive Programming,”AACA offers behavioral services to parents, schools, and regional centers. AACA also offers both Discrete Trial Training (DTT) and Floor Time Therapy. Therapeutic Behavioral Services (TBS) are also available.

General intervention programs include Applied Behavior Analysis, Parent Education Training, Care Provider Training, Functional Behavior Analysis, Behavior Support Plans, Functional Analysis Assessments, Behavior Intervention Plans, and Consultation/Implementation with school district personnel and parents. The emphasis is on developing a range of techniques in the parent’s, caregiver’s and teacher’s skills sets so they can continue to be effective in maintaining desirable behavior change in the child and generalize their skills to address new problem behaviors if and when they arise.

The goal of this service is to teach the underlying behavioral principles tat promote and effect behavior change. This is accomplished by systematically teaching new skills that are socially significant, while decreasing or eliminating behavior excesses that interfere with learning.

We at AACA are unique with these services as we offer them in the classroom as well as in the home setting.

Our therapists are all highly trained in these techniques and well supervised by master’s degree or higher supervisors. All staff providing these services undergo rigorous training and attend weekly meetings to ensure the best ABA services available.

Floortime Therapy

This is a therapy which was developed by Dr. Stanley Greenspan. It is a therapy technique used to treat a variety of challenges, which fall into the Autism Spectrum. In this treatment modality, the therapist relates to the student and engages with this student by becoming a part of the student’s environment, joining with the student on his/her level by engaging in the child’s activities and following the child’s lead. This is why this therapy is appropriately called Floortime; the parent, caregiver or therapist literally gets down on the floor with the child to engage on the child’s level.
The primary goal of Floortime therapy is to assist the client in movement through all of the developmental milestones that must be mastered for emotional and intellectual growth. According to Dr. Greenspan, those milestones include “self-regulation and interest in the world; intimacy or a special love for the world of human relations; two-way communication; emotional ideas; and emotional thinking”. The child on the autistic spectrum experiences challenges in navigating naturally through developmental milestones as a result of sensory malfunctions, processing difficulties, and/or poor impulse control. From this mutually shared joining, the therapist moves the child toward more increasingly complex interactions.

Floortime does not separate out and focus on each individual developmental challenge, such as speech, cognitive, etc. but rather responds to those areas of challenge through a constructed emphasis on global emotional development. As with most of our services; students can be seen onsite while attending the academy, or through our clinic either on site or in home with one of our specialists.

Occupational Therapy
This treatment modality is used to improve fine and gross motor skills. Our occupational therapists design a specific plan to meet each child’s individual needs and challenges. Our Occupational therapists will be integrating strategies with the entire staff to further enhance all of our students educational programs. Students may also be seen individually and in small groups. Occupational therapy services may be provided by direct, consult, or collaborative methods. Occupational therapy locations will vary and may be in the therapy gym, classroom, or any number of different settings on campus. Many of your child’s functional and sensorimotor activities will be specifically chosen so they can be continued outside school as well. Family involvement will be encouraged to help your child move from skill acquisition to generalization and, eventually, mastery of new concepts.

Physical Therapy

The Academy offers school based physical therapy (PT) by a California State licensed therapist. School based PT is designed to assist the student in being able to successfully ambulate around the campus and in the classroom so that the student is better able to access the curriculum and participate in campus activities. The Physical therapist works in tandem with the Occupational therapist and the adaptive physical education specialist to ensure that the student is receiving treatment which reflects the professional input of the entire team discharged with the responsibility of overseeing the physical and sensory needs of all the AACA students.

Parent Training

The Academy for the Advancement of Children with Autism exists not only to assess and address psycho-educational challenges, but we can help you and your child on the road to emotional recovery as well. We have licensed psychologists and therapists on staff that are very well trained in many modalities of counseling and social skills training. We work with both children and adults helping them find answers and leading them down the path to social and emotional well-being.
AACA offers workshops for parents to help them understand and implement techniques utilized at school in order to help with generalization of these skills in the home and community.

AACA views their clients as individuals who are living within a complex network of interconnected systems, which include the individual, family, peers, school, and community. When a person is suffering either on an academic or social emotional level, intervention may be necessary in any one, or a combination of these systems. At AACA, we are committed to meeting client’s needs on ALL levels.

Very often, parents who are in the process of obtaining school-based services for their child are in need of social emotional therapy as well. Being a parent of a family member who has a disability can be exhausting and emotionally draining. Additionally, trying to cope with a family member who is acting out as a result of academic or emotional challenges can cause tremendous strain, tension, and anxiety for a family. Parents may find themselves feeling short-tempered, overwhelmed, frustrated, and exhausted. Additionally, when there is more than one sibling in the home, parents may see additional “acting out” behaviors as they attempt to cope with these challenges. The siblings who are not the immediate focus of their parents’ attention may experience feelings of isolation and inadequacy.

Speech & Language

Our outstanding Speech and Language Pathologists have years of clinical and school-based experience working with children experiencing difficulties with different aspects of their speech and communication. They incorporate the latest, proven techniques when working with your child to achieve the highest degree of progress and success. Speech and Language services are offered within the classroom setting as well as in small groups and individually.

Not only do we offer Speech for AACA students, but we allow children from outside schools and school districts as well as private individuals to take advantage of these fantastic services.