Strafford Learning Center has adopted “Grounding Assumptions” to serve as a guide for supporting students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Originally developed by the IDEA Partnership with broad stakeholder input, this document was modified for use at Strafford Learning Center.

Strafford Learning Center has many assets that support the delivery of autism supports. These assets include:

  • Experienced and knowledgeable related service staff including OT, Speech/Language, Social Work, School Psychology, TVI, TOD
  • Transition experts
  • Assistive technology
  • Strong and extensive network of external partnerships
  • A strong school-based perspective and understanding of public school
  • Commitment to innovation and evidence based practices
  • Commitment to working with families
  • Experience and commitment to person-centered planning
  • Professional development expertise and experience tailoring PD to meet the needs of districts
  • Strong capacity for assessment and instruction designed to meet unique student needs

Initially, when a district approaches SLC about the need for ASD supports we will explore with the school what their unique needs are. Setting, capacity and existing resources will be looked at throughout this collaborative process. Strafford Learning Center will use a planning tool (adapted EBS Self-Assessment Survey version 2.0 Sugai, Horner, Todd, Educational and Community Support, University of Oregon) to assess the needs and assist in the development of an action plan. This could be done on a variety of scales to include:

  • Plan for the needs of a group of students.
  • Plan for an individual student through an intake process.
  • Assist a school with reviewing their existing supports.

Once needs are determined, SLC will assemble a team based on collaborative action planning. Strafford Learning Center would have an “a la carte” menu of potential team members available. The actual team could vary from school to school.  Some districts may already have capacity in some areas. Others may request that Strafford Learning Center assemble a full team.

The action plan would drive the purchase of services which would be contracted on a daily or hourly basis. Rates would be consistent with those already established and would vary by service area.

If applicable, the team could be expanded to include a Teacher of Visually Impaired or Teacher of Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

Strafford Learning Center staff will base recommendations on direct knowledge of students. Flexible professional development will help districts build their capacity to work with students with ASD. This could be accomplished in a variety of ways to include:

  • On-Site training and coaching
  • Off-site, regional workshops
  • Blended learning with a virtual component

One of Strafford Learning Center’s grounding assumptions states, “As students near adulthood, effective programming becomes more diverse given the broad spectrum of ASD. Transition planning, and the transition services provided to reasonably enable students to achieve post-secondary goals, should reflect this diversity”.  In support of this grounding assumption, Strafford Learning Center seeks to assist districts in building capacity and sustainability of supports for students as they transition to life after high school.

Strafford Learning Center can play a role in helping districts to align policies and procedures with best practices for students with ASD while recognizing the unique needs of each student with ASD.

Parent and student education related to transition planning and post-secondary supports and services is central to success for students with ASD.  Strafford Learning Center can offer training related to best practices and can connect parents and students to exemplars and research.

Strafford Learning Center can help to facilitate communication between parents, students and school districts for the purpose of arriving at agreement related to transition supports and services for students with ASD.

Strafford Learning Center can assist school personnel to develop their own capacity for meaningful community activities that are aligned with post-secondary goals. Training, coaching and consultation can be offered to staff involved with transition. Staff members benefitting from this support could include school paraprofessionals, special educators, job coaches and guidance counselors as well as others.

To ensure that Strafford Learning Center is current, responsive and aligned, internal capacity at Strafford Learning Center will be developed through:

  • Coaching
  • Peer consultation
  • Professional development
  • Team coordination and communication