Academic Programs

academic_programsAs one of the nation’s leaders in special education for students with differing abilities, Spectrum Center specializes in providing academic instruction in non-public schools and Collaborative Programs to students with special needs. Students with Asperger’s, autism, behavior challenges, pervasive developmental disorders, emotional disturbance and developmental delays learn the academic and functional skills to accomplish their personal goals and successfully transition to life after high school.

Spectrum Center’s academic services emphasize:

  • Coursework that meets district and state curriculum standards
  • Small classrooms with low student-to-staff ratios
  • Functional academics that relate to independent living skills
  • The opportunity to earn credits toward a high school diploma, when possible

Spectrum Center provides these services by tailoring each student’s academic services plan to his or her unique needs through academic assessments, Individual Education Programs (IEP), incidental teaching and Direct Instruction.

Academic Assessments and IEPs

To tailor educational instruction to each student’s special needs, Spectrum Center first performs an academic skills assessment and then develops an IEP based on that assessment. Students demonstrate the self-help, social, independent living and academic skills they use every day in different environments, and, based on that, our team of experts develops students’ IEP goals. Spectrum Center instructors and therapists collaborate with IEP teams, including public school representatives and families when developing IEPs. Each student’s IEP is reviewed annually, and parents can request additional reviews at their convenience.

Incidental Teaching

Because students often learn best when they are presented with information in the environment where they will ultimately apply the information, Spectrum Center professionals utilize the technique of incidental teaching, when appropriate, to instruct students with special needs. Incidental teaching provides instruction to students in the environment where they will ultimately apply the information. For instance, students practice their math lessons with monetary exchanges and learn about science by planting gardens. This helps students improve their skills and generalize their learning beyond the classroom.

Direct Instruction

Instructors utilize the Direct Instruction teaching model to assist students in their academic development. Using Direct Instruction, Spectrum Center teachers tailor their instruction to student progress. Instructors help students accomplish incremental learning goals and students have many opportunities to practice new skills before advancing to the next element of instruction. This method provides clear instruction with many opportunities for intervention.