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Infinite Grace Academy
2108 Lewis Turner Blvd.                Fort Walton Beach, FL  32548

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About Us
All content Copyright 2009 Infinite Grace Academy.  All rights reserved

This page last updated 29 May 2009.


Mission Statement

To provide intensive instruction in a supportive environment designed to improve communication skills and therefore quality of life for children with autism and other developmental disabilities and their families.

Vision Statement

Infinite Grace Academy strives to be a regional leader in providing education to children with autism and other developmental disabilities. Our goal is to build positive relationships among families, staff, and the greater community to help each child achieve his/her potential.

Methodology

Infinite Grace provides intensive individualized instruction to children with autism, targeting a broad range of educational, behavioral, speech, social and motor dysfunctions, in a single integrated setting. The teaching methodology we use has been scientifically validated and is based on the principles of applied behavior analysis. Special attention is given to the factors that motivate each individual to learn. Through the practice of daily measurement of progress towards individual goals, the educational team, consisting of the program director, lead instructor, instructor(s) and parents are kept abreast of the student’s progress. Data analysis allows the team to make dynamic changes in each student’s program in order to achieve maximum progress. Intensive one-on-one interaction occurs between each student and his or her instructor to provide continuous opportunities for the children to learn new skills throughout the day. Students may also spend scheduled time in group activities when appropriate. As part of the individualized plan for each student, opportunities are also created to teach students how to interact with peers in order to acquire, practice and generalize appropriate social behaviors.

The goal for the students is to learn to communicate effectively, become increasingly independent, interact appropriately with others, and enjoy their learning experience.

Curriculum

In 1957, B.F. Skinner published the book "Verbal Behavior", based on his belief that all language can be classified, and then taught, in a set of functional units. The basic premise behind this approach is that in order for someone to have truly functional language, you must teach all of the different forms or meanings of words.

For example, the word "water" has different functions depending on how it is used. If you see a cup of water and say "water" you have labeled (or "tacted") the object using the word. On the other hand, if you say "I want water" then you have made a request (or "manded") using the very same word. If someone says to you "What's something you drink?" and you respond by saying "water" you have now identified it by "feature, function or class". Finally, if you are asked later in the day, what beverage you drank at lunch (when the item is not present) then your response of "water" would be an "intraverbal" answer.

One key to the success of this approach is that there is very intense interaction between the teacher and the student. There is a constant, non-stop dialogue between teacher and student. "Errorless" teaching techniques are used, which means that while a student is learning, prompts are given immediately and then gradually faded out completely, so that the student always feels successful.

The curriculum used at Infinite Grace Academy is based on the manuals "Teaching Language to Children with Autism or Other Developmental Disabilities" and "The Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills (The ABLLS)"* by Mark L. Sundberg, Ph.D. and James W. Partington, Ph.D. These manuals incorporate the principles outlined in Skinner's "Verbal Behavior" as well as many other skill areas which must be mastered in order to lead a more independent life.

The ABLLS consists of 97 pages of detailed questions which breaks every basic skill down into its smallest components. There are 25 skill areas. (See the included sample of a completed ABLLS.) Within each section, the questions begin with the simplest tasks and end with the most complex. When a child first begins in our program, several days are spent getting to know him or her so that the ABLLS assessment may be completed. Once this is done, goals in each skill area are determined. Typically, only one or two goals will be set for each skill area at a time. However, because children with autism have their own unique learning patterns, this does not necessarily mean that all skills will be learned in an orderly and sequential fashion.

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