Autism Support


    The K to 5 Autism Support Program serves students with a spectrum of diagnoses, including Autism, Asperger’s syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder (PDD-NOS). The Autism Support team at the elementary level supports and services students with learning and social concerns, both in the regular education classroom and in the SLS classroom.  Students in the program receive direct instruction in social thinking concepts. The curriculum includes the areas of self-regulation, social information, communication, perspective taking, knowledge of conventions, and social motivation.  Based on individual needs, students may also receive related services including speech/language therapy, physical therapy, and/or occupational therapy.  Goals of specialized learning support include: increased student understanding of themselves and others through instruction in social thinking concepts, fostering positive peer relationships and social success in all school settings, gradually increasing student independence throughout the school day, and providing appropriate support and accommodations to students based on individual needs


    An intense focus is placed on the core deficit areas of autism, including communication skills, social engagement and self-regulation.  A variety of models designed to support students with autism, including but not limited to the Competent Learner Model are utilized. Teachers and related service providers use research-based interventions, such as Direct Instructionand Applied Behavior Analysis strategies to provide instruction in academic content and in skills areas related to the core deficits of autism spectrum disorders. Students have access to both general education and specialized curricula based on their individual needs. Individual student needs are addressed through Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy as identified in the IEP. An integrated related services model is utilized to allow for generalization of skills across people, activities and settings.


    The Autism Support team at the secondary level provides social, emotional, behavioral and academic supports across all school settings.  Skill areas that are targeted include: transition planning, development of social and communication skills, development of executive function skills, self advocacy training, self-management and disability awareness. Collaboration occurs between teachers, families, guidance counselors, and administrators as well as outside agency representatives to support students’ success within their educational program.  The goals of these programs are to provide a structured and supportive environment while developing independence.  Lower Dauphin is committed to providing the appropriate services to accommodate the individual needs of the students enrolled in these specialized programs.