The Janet and Frank Kelly Autism Center at The Children's Guild utilizes the nationally and internationally recognized TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication related handicapped Children) approach to educate our students. This individualized approach, developed and administered by the University of North Carolina Medical School, recognizes the learning styles of students on the autism spectrum and utilizes their strengths to increase their engagement, independence, and quality of life both at home and in the community.
This evidence-based approach, known as Structured Teaching, has as its foundation the following components:
- Understanding and demonstrating respect for the culture of autism – the learning styles, difficulties and behaviors of students on the autism spectrum.
- Developing an individualized person-centered and family-centered plan for each student, rather than using a standard curriculum.
- Strategies such as schedules, work systems and routines are designed to focus attention and make school work more predictable.
- Teaching social expectations with regards to attending to non-verbal cues through social stories, scripts and peer buddies.
- Collaborating with families to include and seek parents' opinions in decision making as well as teaching families new knowledge and skills.
Additionally, the education program at The Janet and Frank Kelly Autism Center at The Children's Guild incorporates:
- A rich expressive and integrated music and arts program,
- Character education, sensory integration, and pre-vocational and vocational skills development.
- Positive Behavioral Intervention Support (PBIS) programming with students.
- Staff trained in TEACCH and also encouraged to use a variety of modalities in their direct instruction as well as computers and assistive technology equipment.
- An enriched physical environment designed to stimulate the intellect, excite the senses and touch the emotions.
- A faculty that is expected to be fully engaged and involved in all activities with the students.