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Learning to Communicate

Overcoming language and communication deficits is getting easier for students in Pace's Autistic Support Program. As members of the Pennsylvania Verbal Behavior Project, Pace School is embracing a research based training and consultation program that is showing very positive results.

To start the project, staff teams in two targeted classrooms underwent intensive boot-camp training through the PaTTAN Autism Initiative. There they learned to use Applied Behavior Analysis principles to give students concrete instruction in the acquisition of language and social behavior skills. Implementation of the project model involves very specific and systematic assessment and evaluation procedures. It also provides on-going monthly consultation with Board Certified Behavior Analysts to maintain the quality and fidelity of the program.

Since the beginning of the school year, great strides have been observed. Students in the Verbal Behavior classrooms have completed their individual assessments and mastered basic behavioral concepts, such as acceptance of the "no" directive. Collectively, these virtually non-verbal students have learned 218 new words!
It is anticipated that this program will continue to promote strong growth and open opportunities for the students as their language and communication skills develop.

Pace School is a non-profit day school and partial hospitalization program that provides a unique blend of special education and mental health services to students in grades K-9 with emotional challenges or autism. For more information on the school, call (412) 244-1900 or visit the website at www.paceschool.org.

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