Programs for Children with Autism
The Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office, Division of Special Education, provides a comprehensive, intensive learning environment for children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders. The Division of Special Education recognizes that all children benefit from a multi-faceted approach to learning. The program provides each child with an individualized program that combines systematic, research-based instructional and therapeutic techniques based on the principles of applied behavior analysis, visual cuing systems, communication training and direct social skills instruction.
The Kern County Superintendent of Schools is committed to parent and professional collaboration. This partnership is a critical element to enhance and assure educational goals designed to make significant differences in the daily lives of children with Autism spectrum disorders.
A continuum of programs are available to accommodate the needs of a diverse group of children. The programs address age, developmental level, severity of behavioral symptoms, language development and the need for structure for the individual child. On the basis of observations and assessment/evaluation results, a program is designed to meet the child’s individual needs.
The program begins with the early intervention programs for infants and toddlers that is designed to develop appropriate pre-academic activities that include perception, gross motor, fine motor, eye-hand integration, cognition, general knowledge and social interaction. These students are provided with 1:1 or 1:2 student-staff ratio during part of every day.
Structured independent classroom programs are available for students demonstrating progress indicating that they may benefit from emphasis on generalization of learned behaviors. Services for students in these programs focus on the development of a reliable communication system. Independent work habits are emphasized and students begin to learn to function in small group settings. Structured teaching techniques are used to develop daily schedules and independent work systems based on the TEACCH curriculum and others. Training and Educating Autistic and Communication Handicapped (TEACCH) activities include classroom, school-based and community-based instruction. Discreet Trial Training , Picture Exchange Communication and /or oral communication methods continue to be emphasized and expanded as warranted for each child.
Special programs for some students are continued until the age of 21 in the Dai-Break program. These programs utilize a comprehensive, instructional plan that is systematic and responsive to each student’s individual needs and incorporates home and school activities. There is frequent review of the progress and the changing needs of the student. Programs emphasize an ongoing multidsciplinary case intervention and a team approach, where parents are expected to be an active member of the team. As the student approaches adulthood, vocational and independent skills are emphasized.
COMMUNITY SUPPORT GROUPS
- H.E.A.R.T.S Connection
Meetings are held monthly throughout Kern County for family members and friends. Meetings provide information on organizations and services and opportunities to meet other families to share joys, challenges and information. For more information, please call 661.328.9055.
- Bakersfield Parent’s Hope
Sponsored by H.E.A.R.T.S Connection, a support group for parents of children with Asperger’s Syndrome, Childhood Schizophrenia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder and related disorders. Meetings are held from 7:30 – 9 PM, on the first Thursday evening of each month. For more information, please call 661.399.0856.
- Unique Perspectives
Sponsored by H.E.A.R.T.S Connection, a support group for teenagers of high school age with with Asperger’s Syndrome. Meetings are held from 7:30 – 9 PM, on the first Thursday evening of each month. For more information, please call 661.399.0856.
- Kern Autism Network (KAN)
A parent support group that meets regularly and sponsors a local conference each year that brings well known experts in the field to Bakersfield. For more information, please contact Carl Twisseleman at 661.762.7528.