Autism Curriculum at Autism Chicago
Our curriculum is loosely divided into three sections that progress as your child grows, develops, and learns new skills. It begins with fundamental and basic skills necessary to learn. From there, our individualized program takes your child through a progression of skills that leads them to self-sufficiency.
Once your child has completed our program, they will be competent in the essential skills required to be successful in a typical classroom setting. Our goal is to guide your child to independence in the classroom.
The Beginning Curriculum
This set of programs is designed to assist a child in “learning how to learn.” It heavily emphasizes skills that provide the very foundation for learning the more advanced skills that people associate with development throughout the early years of life. These programs specifically target skills relating to: imitation, matching, early receptive language, basic attending skills, and fine/gross motor skills.
What does this mean and what does it look like?
In a nutshell, on Day 1 of your child’s therapy, our therapy team will be targeting some very basic skill sets and important therapeutic goals:
- Increasing tolerance to demands
- Sitting in a chair for an extended period of time
- Properly handling materials (i.e., cards, toys)
- Building rapport with teams members
- Identifying important motivators
The Intermediate Curriculum
This set of programs are designed to use the skills learned in the early curriculum to begin learning the skills that are more closely associated with creating social skills, pre-academic skills and increasing quality of life. It is in these programs that the child begins to use vocalizations to identify objects. In other words, this is where a child typically begins to speak for the first time.
More advanced skills include:
- Basic math
- Hand Writing
- Early Reading
- Early conversation skills (i.e., answering questions, responding to social greetings)
- Learning to spend down time on appropriate play activities (puzzles, games, books…etc.)
The Advanced Curriculum
By this point in the program, the child has mastered the ability to imitate the sounds required to make words, and has moved onto phrases, as well as sentences. In many cases, the child is now learning to speak based on what is being said (by parents, brothers and sisters) in the natural environment. The focus of the program shifts toward having more appropriate social interactions through conversation, reading gestures and social queues and nonverbal communication. Another major focus of this portion of the program is on advancing play skills, and using free time to engage in appropriate activities. The goal of the final stage of the program is to enhance independence and quality of life.
Some common activities and skills targeted in this area would include:
- Highly structured play and social groups that require independent and spontaneous use of the social skills already acquired.
- Listening and compliance in group instruction settings
- Inclusion into social and play activities in the community (i.e., swimming, gymnastics).
- Pre-academic and academic skills (reading comprehension, math story problems, writing sentences).
Important Life Skills
Autism Chicago also has programs to deal with the following:
Our comprehensive potty training “boot camp” typically takes 3-4 days to have a child independently urinate in the toilet. Bowel movements take a bit longer. By the end of our training protocol, children are nearly independent with their bathroom activities.
The first part of our program helps children use utensils (forks and spoons especially). The second part helps children expand what is typically a very rigid and restricted diet. The health implications of expanding a child’s diet will help him/her in a multitude of ways.