Rising Stars Autism Program

The mission of the Rising Stars Program is to provide K-12 students with Autism or Pervasive Developmental Delays a learning environment that will develop independence and success in the classroom and the community. By addressing individual academic, behavioral, sensory and communication strengths and challenges students are able to change behaviors and increase academic performance to a level that will allow a return to their public school as soon as is beneficial to the student.

Multiple research based strategies are employed by the teachers to assist this unique group of students in developing the skills they need to be successful. Language based curriculum is utilized for academic instruction with a heavy emphasis on kinesthetic experiences. An Occupational Therapist provides group therapy as a part of the regular program and the Speech and Language Pathologist is an integral team member of the Rising Stars program to assure improvement in the language skills of students and enhancement of effective communication. To ensure that therapy techniques are thoroughly integrated into the child's full academic and therapeutic program, therapists work primarily in the classrooms where they train and supervise assistant teachers and other support staff in implementing those techniques. All the therapists can provide individualized therapy if directed by the IEP team. Students also have access to the sensory room that is included into their daily routine.

Our teachers incorporate instructional principles from the structured teaching model, Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication-Handicapped Children (TEACCH) and also use a variety of techniques from Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Floortime. Emphasis, however, is always placed on understanding the individual rather than focusing exclusively on a particular treatment approach.

This video slideshow was created to share at the 2013 Walk Now for Autism Speaks event. It highlights many of the different activities, community outings and experiences of students in the Rising Stars Autism Program and the Step Ahead Program for students with Intellectual Disabilities at The ACES.

Students enjoy all the benefits of the extracurricular activities that are available at The ACES, such as animal therapy, school spirit activities, field trips, sports, assemblies, Special Olympics, and participation in the Winter Festival and Fine Arts Festival. As students demonstrate improvement, they will be considered for mainstreaming into the regular ACES program for a partial or full day.

The goals for the Rising Stars Program include the following:

  1. Improve social skills and behavior so that the student may be placed in a less restrictive program within the district.
  2. Enhance communication and language skills necessary for social and academic improvement.
  3. Improve academic skills to assist the student in maximizing his/her learning potential and enhance the probability that the student may ultimately be able to live and work independently.