Current Autism Services 

The autism team at DCPS has been hard at work the past several years, building the foundation for a world-class set of services and supports for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families.

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Within the Classroom

One ongoing goal is for DCPS classes and staff to have support in applying the ABA method

For the 2010-11 school year, DCPS has hired six ABA coaches that are providing support to autism classes and to students with autism in other settings.

The use of ABA coaches started during the 2009-10 school year, when DCPS placed ABA coaches in all 27 early childhood and elementary school autism classrooms for the 2009-10 school year. 

These coaches have created a foundation of autism support in elementary schools and paved the way for developing services and supports for middle and high schools.

During the 2008-09 and 2007-08 school years, a board certified behavior analyst began consulting for the preschool autism classroom as an ABA coach. 

During these visits, teachers and other paraprofessionals learned ABA techniques, instruction, data collection and how to develop behavior support plans.

You also can view the schools with dedicated autism classrooms in the 2010-11 school year.

With Parents

The 2010-11 school year marked the start of parent trainings about challenging behaviors. There was one session in the fall, and another session is scheduled for the spring. 

During the month of February, there will be a parent training session about motivation, positive reinforcement, challenging behaviors, communication, social skills, and community and transportation skills. These trainings will be supplemented with in-home support sessions.

During the 2009-10 school year, a certified behavior analyst led parents in Team Effort, a parent-training program. This initiative was piloted for 20 families of young children with autism who were enrolled at DCPS. 

These trainings included bi-weekly group meetings and home visits. As a result, this program taught proactive strategies for raising children with autism and created consistency with behavior lessons taught in the classroom and at home. 

These trainings are continuing in the 2010-11 school year.

With DCPS Staff

DCPS has and will continue to provide opportunities for DCPS staff, administrators and teachers to learn more about working with students with autism, as well as ABA techniques.

For the past four years, Dr. Dan Shapiro, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician, has provided weekly consultations for the DCPS autism team. This support will continue during the 2010-2011 school year.

An autism lecture series, featuring prominent members of the autism community in D.C., was provided on a monthly basis for administrators and teachers. For the 2010-11 school year, this lecture series continues, along with regularly scheduled school-based trainings and professional development days.

During the 2009-10 school year, ABA coaches offered monthly ABA trainings to teachers. These trainings provided teachers with formal professional development on communication, social skills, and principles of ABA outside of the classroom to supplement the in-class support provided by the coaches.

Two DCPS autism teachers also are on their way to becoming certified behavior analysts.

Inside DCPS Highlights.


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