The School at McGuire Memorial serves several distinct populations: students with autism, students with multiple disabilities and students in other disability categories. Specialized approaches, curriculum, materials, methods and procedures have been adopted to ensure learning in each group.
Curriculum for Students with Autism
The School at McGuire Memorial provides a comprehensive educational PA Standards program designed to teach students with autism strategies for addressing educational needs as well as the communication, behavioral and social deficits associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
The curriculum includes activities that lead students to acquire the knowledge and skills they need to become as independent and productive as possible.
The School at McGuire Memorial serves children across the spectrum – from students with significant cognitive challenges to students on or near grade level; from students who display challenging behaviors to those who display significant anxiety. The curriculum therefore provides a range of instructional activities that are individualized to the needs of each learner.
The program for students with autism is based firmly in applied behavior analysis and the use of functional curriculums including The ABLLS-R, The Assessment of Functional Living Skills, The Eden Curriculum, The Essentials for Living Program and The VB-MAPP.
The principles of reinforcement serve as the basis for instruction, behavior reduction and skill acquisition. Under the direction of the behavior analyst, staff are trained to fidelity in the implementation of evidence-based ABA techniques.
Curriculum for Students with Multiple Disabilities
The School at McGuire Memorial provides a comprehensive individualized instructional program for students with significant cognitive challenges and multiple medical needs. The focus of this curriculum is on the acquisition of functional skills based on the PA Standards/Alternate Standards and is delivered in a multi-sensory format. The classrooms for students with multiple disabilities are housed in a wing independent of the students with autism to ensure safety and minimize stress/distractions for both groups of students. Students in this wing are also exposed to curricular programs such as MOVE and Active Learning.
The curriculum for students with multiple disabilities utilizes the Eden Curriculum, Essentials for Living (EFL) and a curriculum from Ireland (National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, General Guidelines for Teachers of Students with Severe and Profound General Learning Disabilities).
Curriculum for Students in Other Disability Categories
Students in other disability categories are instructed using evidence-based practices associated with the disability. A wide range of assessment tools and curricular materials are available to ensure that education is individualized and appropriate for each unique learner.