Our school model is firmly rooted in the science of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). All aspects of ABA including DTT (Discrete Trial Teaching), NET (Natural Environment Teaching), errorless learning, incidental teaching, shaping and positive reinforcement are utilized to maximize effective teaching and increase generalization. Reach for the Stars Learning Center (RFTS) further incorporates Verbal Behavior and the best practices in speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, play therapy and social skills training. Every student receives daily individual speech therapy and occupational therapy, in addition to the speech and occupational therapy groups which facilitate peer interactions and generalization. Students also receive weekly individual and group music therapy sessions with a highly trained certified Music Therapist. Each therapy and intervention plays an integral role within the well balanced model, and each domain works collaboratively towards the same goals, in support of each child's individual success. The collaboration of the domains coupled with the highly individualized instruction enables each and every student the support and tools needed to reach his/her goal.
Upon admission to RFTS, each student is administered comprehensive assessments by our full-time Doctor of Clinical Behavioral Psychology along with the heads of the Speech, Occupational Therapy, and Academics departments to determine targets and create educational programming goals. Educational, behavioral, medical and parental history are reviewed and considered when analyzing findings. Each student receives an extensive multi-disciplinary individualized education program (IEP), which is individualized to maximize growth, generalization and adaptation. Curriculum and Behavior Intervention Plans are created for each child, which are designed to support positive practices and teach appropriate replacement behaviors aimed at increasing social and adaptive skills and reducing inappropriate behaviors. Once educational programming has been established, the focus is on acquisition, generalization and the fluency of skills acquired. Student responses are recorded and measured to guide data based decision making and any adjustments of programming or intervention plans.
In addition to educational goals, comprehensive goals are established for each child based on his or her Learners Inventories, designated IEP goals, parental wishes and consideration of community needs. The breakdown of student target goals includes everything from toilet training to academics; every educational, behavioral, social, sensory and communicative goal is included. Within these considerations are self-management, functional daily living skills, communicative behavior, joint attention, perspective taking, social skills, attention to task, cooperative play, conversation units, daily living skills and care. Student progress is monitored and analyzed several times weekly, and modifications in the treatment and training plans are constantly taking place to ensure that each child will achieve his or her absolute potential in all areas.
RFTS also places great focus on peer interaction and socialization, and has developed a number of innovative programs both in and out if the classroom setting which maximize socialization opportunities and promote normative interpersonal behaviors. See Outreach and Inclusion.