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PALS Program

The PALS program provides intensive support and instruction for students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum and related disorders.  This program offers robust systematic and structured behavioral teaching approaches, complementing academic instruction, social pragmatic and social emotional support.  A primary goal of the program is to provide inclusion opportunities that support the generalization and transfer of skills, participation as appropriate in the general curriculum, and participation to the greatest extent possible with nondisabled peers. Students  will be supported as they increase their independent skills in all areas including academics, recreation, social, communication skills, self-care, motor skills, and behavior management, as well as the generalization of these skills.

Students participating may exhibit one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Difficulties with all aspects of organization and academic production.
  • Difficulties with social/peer interactions
  • Hyper-focused patterns of interest
  • Sensory regulation challenges
  • Difficulties with attention and/or focusing 

There are a variety of supports provided within the PALS program model (as outlined on student IEPs).  Some of those supports may include:

  • Intensive speech and language support integrated throughout the school day
  • Access to assistive and augmentative communication devices
  • Small group instruction that prioritizes multi-sensory, research based instruction
  • Opportunities for peer modeling through inclusive experiences and support
  • Provision of multi-sensory, research-based academic instruction to meet individual student needs
  • Opportunities for peer modeling and other inclusion opportunities targeted to build on student strengths 
  • Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) methodology designed into individual student programs as required
  • Use of behavior management systems coordinated by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)
  • Tangible reinforcement provided to promote positive behavioral outcomes
  • Provision of significant adult support for addressing academic, social, emotional, and/or behavioral needs
  • Provision of direct physical and occupational therapy to target fine, visual, gross motor and sensory integration goals

Program Components & Methodologies

Program components and methodologies include:

Consultation and coordination between special educators, related service providers, BCBA’s and classroom teachers ensures that consistent approaches are utilized across settings to promote academic and attentional skills, language and socialization, A new outdoor classroom offers an additional learning space for all curricular activities.

Methodology includes a combination of supported inclusion, discrete trial training and/or 1:1 instruction, small-group activities, incidental teaching and community learning. The program is based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) with a focus on individualized reinforcement systems and consistent behavior management programs. 

Discrete Trial Training Discrete trial training (DTT) is a highly structured, 1:1 method of teaching in which the adult uses adult- directed, massed trial instruction; reinforcers chosen for their strength; and clear contingencies and repetition to teach new skills. Program Teachers
Augmentative Communication Direct instruction and consultation in the use and programming of communication devices for nonverbal students AAC Specialist
Behavior Includes functional behavior assessments, behavior plan development, and direct instruction Board Certified Behavior Analyst
Community Applying learned skills to natural environments Program Staff
Daily Living Skills Activities of daily living include hygiene, personal care, feeding, toileting, dressing, safety Program Staff
Leisure Determining how to join activities and develop interests Program Staff
Peer Mentoring A model of reverse inclusion Program Staff
Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Applying learning theory in a specific, systematic way in order to teach discrete skills; done through the careful manipulation of antecedents, behavior, and consequence. Program Staff
Travel Training Getting from one place to another independently Program Staff
Social Skills Learning how to interact with peers and adults, join groups, manage/read emotions, take point of view, navigate conflict, share common experiences, etc. Program Staff
Student Skills Managing the unwritten structure and function of a school day Program Staff
Reverse Inclusion Specific classes are delivered via a reverse-inclusion model, whereby students participate in a modified curriculum (delivered at their individual entry points) and are aided directly by typical, same-age peer mentors.  Program Staff