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"... the most important considerations in devising educational programs for children with autistic spectrum disorders have to do with recognition of the autism spectrum as a whole, with the concomitant implications for social, communicative, and behavioral development and learning, and with the understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the individual child across areas of development."
—Educating Children with Autism2001



MCPS/Placement/Services
Nondiploma Elementary Services (Grades K-5)
  • Learning for Independence Program (LFI)
  • School Community-based Program (SCB)
  • Autism Services

Learning for Independence (LFI)
Locations: Download MCPS Programs and Services Locations for Special Education Students, 2016-17
Learning for Independence (LFI) services are designed for students with complex learning and cognitive needs, including mild to moderate intellectual disabilities. Services support the implementation of Alternate Academic Learning Outcomes aligned with Curriculum 2.0. Students are provided with many opportunities for interaction with general education peers, including inclusion in general education classes as appropriate, peer tutoring, and extracurricular activities. Community-based instruction and vocational training are emphasized at the secondary level so that students are prepared for the transition to post-secondary opportunities upon graduating with a certificate from the school system.

School Community–based Program (SCB)
Locations: Download MCPS Programs and Services Locations for Special Education Students, 2016-17
School Community-based Program (SCB) services are designed for students with severe or profound intellectual disabilities and/or multiple disabilities. SCB services include the following components: age-appropriate classes, heterogeneous groups, peer interactions, individualized instruction, community instruction, and transition. Students typically have significant needs in the areas of communication, personal management, behavior management, and socialization. The program emphasizes individualized instruction in comprehensive schools and related community and work environments. The SCB model includes the following components: age-appropriate classes, heterogeneous groupings, peer interactions, individualized instruction, and transition. 

Elementary Autism Services
Locations: Bells Mill E.S., Carderock Springs E.S., Cedar Grove E.S., Clopper Mill E.S., Cloverly E.S., College Gardens E.S., Fields Road E.S., Gaithersburg E.S., Rosemary Hills E.S., Meadow Hall E.S., Roscoe Nix E.S.,Rock Creek Forest E.S., Sherwood E.S., Strawberry Knoll E.S., Westover E.S.
Students receiving the Elementary Autism Services have a diagnosis of autism and need significant modifications and accommodations to access the curriculum, as well as direct, systematic instruction in all academic, functional, and social skill areas. These services are offered in self-contained classrooms in comprehensive elementary school buildings. Classrooms provide a highly structured environment that incorporates consistent routines, transition warnings, visual supports, and motivational systems, with an emphasis on the development of language, social skills, and student independence. Instructional and behavioral supports are based on best practices from the field of Applied Behavior Analysis, and focus on skill repetition and generalization. Data collection provides the basis for instructional decisions. Related services (occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech/language therapy) are usually provided within the context of the classroom. Students have the opportunity to participate with non-disabled peers in social opportunities such as Best Buddies, Unified Sports, and/or Peer Interns. Classes have a small staff to student ratio of 1 teacher : 2 paraeducators : 6 students, with the majority of instruction occurring in dyads (1:2) and small groups (1:6).


Improving the educational experiences and outcomes of students on the autism spectrum in grades K-12

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