As the research indicates, intensive early intervention using teaching procedures based on the science of applied behavior analysis is critically related to the success of those diagnosed with an ASD. For these reasons, IEA provides intensive and highly individualized educational services to children, ages 3-21, through its full-day, 12-month Education Program.
All programming at IEA is highly individualized to meet each individual student’s needs. Individualized assessments of each student’s current skill level and behavioral excesses and deficits are conducted to allow for the development of objective goals and individualized teaching procedures to ensure the individualized education program will lead to important and critical behavioral outcomes that will immediately benefit the student.
A Behavior Analytic Approach:
Systematic intervention procedures, based on a wide range of scientifically validated applied behavior analytic teaching techniques, are employed with each student in the program to ensure the development of new skills. Direct measurement of student progress occurs regularly and objective data are collected and analyzed to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of all teaching procedures. Through this analysis, IEA staff are able to quickly advance programming goals and/or revise teaching procedures when necessary to ensure rapid, and consistent, skill acquisition by the students.
Intensive Instruction with Rich Staff-Student Ratios:
As we know, the intensity of instructional time is critical, especially during the formative educational years. Because of this, the instruction at IEA is delivered under very rich staff-student ratios. Most of the instruction for young pre-schoolers occurs under a 1:1 instructor-student ratio. This ensures high levels of supervision and instruction for young learners and maximizes their learning time. Students also spend time in small group instructional sessions to ensure socialization opportunities and learning under conditions that are slightly less structured and where the intensity of supervision is slightly decreased. As students acquire skills that allow them to continue to learn under conditions that require independence and self-management skills, the staff-student ratio is altered to ensure their continued skill development as older children and adolescents. The staff-student ratio, however, always remains strong at a 1:2 ratio during instructional periods. This intensive educational model ensures skill development in a wide array of areas and allows for students to be adequately prepared for learning under a wide variety of conditions.
Skill Areas Addressed at IEA:
IEA is committed to teaching students both academic and life skills. Because the deficits of those diagnosed with autism are quite pervasive across many domains, it is critical that the programming be comprehensive in nature. At IEA, we teach students the traditional academic subjects that all students learn in school. We do, however, teach students a wide variety of other skills that allow them to be fully prepared for their lives ahead. These include daily and home living, leisure, employment, and other skills.
For preschoolers, much of the daily programming and activity focuses on building their language and social skills, as well as preparing them for their educational years ahead by teaching them standard academic skills. As students mature into adolescents and young adults, programs are tailored to emphasize the development of necessary social, daily living, and vocational skills needed to allow them to function with the greatest possible independence. These skills include, for example, money management, strong hygiene skills, menu planning and food preparation skills, and appropriate vocational training for eventual employment opportunities.
The Learning Environment:
Learning takes places across a number of environments when students attend IEA’s Education Program. Structured academic teaching occurs in classrooms as would be expected. Teaching also occurs, however, at a wide variety of other locations to ensure learning occurs under naturalistic teaching conditions. Students travel to community settings, such as dentist offices, shopping malls, food stores, salons, public transportation areas, and a wide variety of relevant environments to learn a whole host of critical life skills.
Our Professional Staff:
IEA has an extraordinarily committed, professional, and passionate staff supporting the learners in the Education Program. All classrooms have a certified teacher and additional instructional staff members who work together as a team of skillful professionals to ensure the highest level of clinical excellence. All staff hold at least a BA degree and receive didactic and hands-on training in Applied Behavior Analysis and effective autism intervention. IEA has numerous BCBA level staff on board who interact with the staff and learners ensuring consistent and effective intervention practices. IEA’s intensive staff-training and evaluation processes ensure ethical and high-quality intervention by skillful and caring professionals.
Who We Serve and How We are Funded:
IEA’s Education Program is approved by the NJ Department of Education as an Approved Private School for the Disabled. As such, sending school districts place students at IEA and pay the tuition associated with the placement. We are approved to educate preschool (ages 3-5) and school-aged (ages 5-21) students in the state of New Jersey. IEA serves students diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder from ages 3-21 in its Education Program and accepts referrals from parents, Child-Study Teams, and other professionals in human service agencies. IEA accepts both public and private placements and is also committed to fundraising for all costs that are not covered by the tuition dollars to ensure that all students have access to the highest level of skilled, professional staff and necessary resources to ensure the highest positive student outcomes possible.