Autism Programs

Ridge Mills Elementary and Staley Elementary School
At Ridge Mills Elementary School in Rome, there has been a program for students with autism or autism spectrum disorders for many years. The program began servicing grades K-5, ages 5-12 since the 1991-92 school years. Students in the program are usually classified as Autistic although some are some are other classifications such as Speech Impaired or Other Health Impaired. Most students have communication delays and have autistic-like behaviors. We are expanding on the opportunities for the autistic students to remain in their Elementary Schools. A similar program is now available at Staley Elementary School.

The nature of the autistic program ensures a variety of opportunities for inclusive education and regular interaction between students with and without disabilities. Transitioning older students to the next building takes priority in their final year of the Elementary program. We assist parents in evaluating all their options and routinely visit potential future settings inside and outside our district. Extensive support is offered in order to include these children in the regular education settings through the help of Teacher Assistants and consultant teachers.

Each child with behavioral concerns has an individual behavioral plan based on a functional behavioral assessment and techniques of Applied Behavior analysis in the student's natural setting and is woven into real life situations opposed to rehearsal in isolation. The personnel throughout Ridge Mills School have training and have developed skills and knowledge to interact effectively with children with autism through staff development, conferences, and workshops. Many of the faculty and staff have been involved with the program since its start.

Consultant Teacher model for full inclusion students in grades K-4 at Ridge Mills and 5-6 at Staley Elementary School - all students are supported with Teacher Assistants in regular education classrooms.

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