Autism / Life Skills

Department Head for Autism and Behavioral Intervention Services

Lisa Edmonson, MSed, BCBA, LABA
EdmonsonL@worcesterschools.net
508-799-3055

Autism/Life skills programs are designed for those students whose primary disability is Autism with associated intellectual disabilities.  Students typically have significant challenges with spontaneous use of their thinking and communication skills, social/interpersonal skills, adaptive behavior skills, community skills and academic skills.  Students appropriate for this level of support require intensive, individualized instruction in small class settings due to their significant needs regarding intellectual development, social development, and development of adaptive behaviors. There may be behavioral issues present that interfere with learning and require the implementation of an individualized behavior plan.

  • Autism/Life skills programs provide a combination of teaching methods, including ABA, discreet trials and developmental and incidental teaching methods.
  • Students are taught functional skills such how to follow a daily routine, self-help skills, and communication skills utilizing ABA methodology. 
  • These students may require related services of (i.e. Speech and Language, P.T., O.T., Vision, and Adapted Physical Education) in order to access their individualized educational programs.     
  • Most Life Skills students participate in MCAS-Alternate Portfolio assessment.     

Consideration for Autism/Life skills:

Common traits associated with students requiring autism/lifeskills program may include:

  • Significantly limited verbal and non-verbal communication skills
  • Significant difficulty with social/interpersonal skills
  • Behaviors that significantly impede the students’ ability to participate in a group setting on a daily basis.
  • Academic skills that are significantly below age level requiring tasks to be broken down into simple components and programming based on the principles of applied behavior analysis
  • Educational disability of Autism or related disability  

If you suspect that your child needs an Autism/life skills program ask your child’s teacher or school administrator about how to initiate the screening process.

Staffing:

Teacher of Moderate Disability - provide high quality instructional experience to students with moderate disabilities through creativity, resourcefulness and sound judgment consistent with the curriculum frameworks, standards and the rules and regulations of the Worcester Public Schools.  Students are taught compensatory strategies using multi-sensory techniques to enable them to reach their full potential as members of the Worcester Public School community.

Teacher of Severe Disability - provide high quality instructional experience to students with severe disabilities through creativity, resourcefulness and sound judgment consistent with the curriculum frameworks, standards and the rules and regulations of the Worcester Public Schools.  Students are taught compensatory strategies using multi-sensory techniques to enable them to reach their full potential as members of the Worcester Public School community.

Instructional Assistant - support the instruction of all students by reinforcing lessons with individual students and small groups of students and providing behavioral support based on ABA methodology.  Tasks and duties are assigned and directed by the classroom teacher, BCBA and other professional staff.

Board Certified Behavior Analyst – applies behavioral principals to produce socially significant improvements in learning by utilizing evidence based practices to improve students’ ability to regulate their behavior and improve social skills across a variety of settings within the school and community. 

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