Educational Programs: Science-Based Community-Based Intensive Teaching
Scientific research has demonstrated that Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the safest and most effective treatment for autism. ABA is widely recognized by educators and professionals as the only intervention leading to comprehensive, lasting improvements in the lives of individuals with autism. In fact, ABA has been endorsed by a number of state and federal agencies, including the National Autism Center. Both PAAL (Preparing Adolescents for Adult Life) and ACE (Adult Competency and Education) utilize the principles of ABA. Learners with autism learn best from the naturally-occurring cues in the natural environment; therefore, PAAL and ACE utilize the community as their classrooms—offering intensive opportunities to “practice” those skills necessary for independent functioning and for securing a better quality of life.
Founded in 2006, PAAL, MECA’s ABA community-based school program includes:
- A full day, twelve month program for learners 14–21 years of age.
- Individual assessment of each learner’s strengths, challenges and learning style.
- A wide range of ABA-based teaching techniques individually applied to each learner.
- Intervention and instruction in both structured and natural settings.
- One-to-one and/or highly-structured small group instruction for skill acquisition with systematic fading of support for the attainment of the highest degree of independence possible.
- Individualized programming across a wide range of curriculum areas.
- Specific programs to promote verbal behavior, social skills, and academic skills.
- Regular and comprehensive situational assessments.
- Monthly collaborative meetings bringing together families, learners, staff, agencies, and the community.
- Systematic data analyses to track learner performance.
- Highly qualified, certified behavior analysts to supervise learner programming.
- Intensive staff training and supervision to ensure the highest quality instruction.
- Launched in the Spring of 2009, ACE, MECA’s post-21 program, utilizes ABA and community-based instruction to enhance the lives of adult learners with autism.
In the works is Bridges, MECA’s program to provide consultation and support services for individuals with autism and their families.