Children Diagnosed with Autism
(K – Grade 8)
Intermountain Academy provides innovative educational programming for children in grades K-8 with a primary educational diagnosis of autism in Southern Arizona. Our model is grounded in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), a well-researched and evidence-based framework proven to be the most effective for children with autism (Foxx, 2008.) We align our curriculum to Common Core Standards (Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards) using cutting edge technology, personalized curriculum and staff trained in special education and ABA.
Each student at Intermountain is able to access individualized education after a month-long period of comprehensive evaluation of academic, behavioral, social, and physical skills – in short, the whole person. This assessment period culminates in the development of an Intermountain Academic Profile (IAP) that takes a strength-based approach to programming. For early learners who may still be at the pre-academic level, an intensive communication/language-based curriculum is followed, as outlined in the Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills Revised (ABLLS-R) and/or the Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP.) For students that are ready to access the Common Core Standards, academic skills are assessed using the Brigance Comprehensive Inventory of Basic Skills. Social skills are evaluated using Scott Bellini’s Autism Social Skills Profile. Physical skills are probed using the ABBLS-R.
A core component of the Intermountain Academy philosophy is that students should reach their highest potential. For this reason, each student receives instruction for the purpose of helping them become as independent as possible. Acquisition of Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) such as toileting, dressing and hand-washing are critical for students to be able to transition to less restrictive environments with their typically developing peers and for students to succeed in a classroom setting. Safety awareness skills are crucial for students to take advantage of community-based opportunities. As drowning is the leading cause of death for children with autism, Intermountain Academy provides water safety instruction in the campus pool on a daily basis.
Because students with autism have various levels of functioning and academic abilities that do not necessarily correlate with age or grade level, Intermountain Academy currently employs multi-grade classrooms with one teacher in each classroom who is proficient in ABA and, at least, two trained technicians. This results in a maximum 3 to 1 student to teacher ratio. One-on-one student assistance is also available when and if needed.
All students access similar content through project-based learning. For example, a project theme for the school week may be the planetary system. Math, reading, language arts, science, and social studies lessons for the group will be centered on the theme. Individual work on this theme will be modified and adapted to the academic level of the student, based on preliminary and ongoing evaluations that inform the Intermountain Academic Profile (IAP.)
Data drives programming at Intermountain Academy. Once the initial assessment period is complete, parents receive a point-based rating scale on the behavioral objectives identified in the IAP every day. Once a week, academic and physical skills will be probed in order to form a complete picture of progress, which enables teachers and aides to streamline effective teaching practices based on the needs of the student. If a child is not making progress in acquiring an academic skill, teachers will adapt and modify their approach in teaching the skills in other ways better suited to the student’s learning style.
Intermountain Academy ensures that all of its students have access to the highest quality academic tools and technology. Curriculum planning is done through Beyond Textbooks, a nationally accepted and proven effective planning platform. Beyond Textbooks is employed district-wide in four of Arizona’s most highly performing school districts. As most children with autism are visual learners, all of our students have access to Vizzle, an online-based digital resource with over 10,000 peer-reviewed lessons aligned to the Common Core.
Intermountain Academy provides a specialized educational opportunity for children with primary diagnosis of autism, but we also serve families by making our innovative programming available to individuals that might not otherwise be able to afford it.
555 S. Tucson Boulevard
Tucson, AZ 85716
Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.