SFACS target students on the autism spectrum who reside in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, and who have communication deficits, behavioral issues and/or require training in self-care and activities of daily living. We are a Miami-Dade County Public School, and our curriculum is based on the Florida Sunshine State standards for students on a modified curriculum. We infuse our curriculum with B. F. Skinner’s principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), which has been proven to be a very effective method in the treatment of ASD. We feel that the application of Florida Sunshine State standards combined with the methods of ABA provide students with ASD the most effective individualized educational programs possible.
Classrooms are small in size and comprised of a 3:1 student-to-teacher ratio. There are no more than 9 students per classroom, with 1 Teacher certified by the State of Florida in Special Education & General Education, assisted by 2 Teacher Assistants. Our individualized programs are fully compliant with student IEP’s, inclusive of all therapy and services. A Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) is on staff to manage individual ABA programs and consult with staff. Students with communication deficits are provided with training in augmentative alternative communication (AAC), utilizing the method(s) that work best for them. Methods include, but are not limited to Sign Language, Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), and augmentative communication or speech-generating devices.
We are presently serving Kindergarten through 9th grade, and there are 9 students per grade level for a capacity of 90 students. It is our plan to add a grade level each year until we are serving students in Kindergarten through 12th grade, and up to the age of 22.
Our primary goal, through the implementation of our mission, is to provide students with ASD with a learning environment that is best suited for their disability and where they will have an opportunity to thrive. This is achieved by combining State benchmarks and guidelines with the methodologies and best practices of ABA. The curriculum for our students is the same as what is offered in traditional public schools; however, the difference is the methodology utilized in the implementation. In addition, all direct-care staff are thoroughly trained in the ABA method. This assists the student’s in achieving their highest potential, as the behavioral issues that are common with the ASD population are appropriately addressed so as to not interfere with learning.
Our secondary goal, when possible, is to assist students in mainstreaming to a less restrictive environment once they demonstrate adequate progress. We feel that our individualized curriculum combined with the ABA methodology affords eligible students the support required to achieve this goal. We are open to working diligently with the staff at the school they intend to transition to, and collaborate with them to ensure the child’s success. For students whom a less restrictive environment is not possible, we offer the opportunity earn a Specialty Diploma, Option 1 or Option 2, or a Certificate of Completion.