Pathfinder

The Pathfinders Program educates elementary, middle school, high school, and post-high school students with high-functioning autism and related social communication challenges.

The Pathfinders Program educates 10-22 year old middle to high school students diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and high-functioning autism.

The curriculum is based on the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks in order to meet district requirements for graduation while addressing individual accommodations and modifications as stated in the Individual Educational Programs (IEP) of the students.

Program Overview

Classrooms within the Pathfinders Program have a low student to staff ratio and are divided by age and skill level while integrating academics, social pragmatics, community skills, and vocational skills. Most students are working at or just below grade level and many have passed the MCAS for that grade level.  A majority of our students go on to post-secondary educational opportunities after League School. The Program is designed to help students achieve their academic potential, foster  emotional regulation, gain social skills needed to interact appropriately, and develop meaningful friendships.  Each Pathfinders classroom team, which includes a Speech-Language Pathologist, Occupational Therapist, Clinician, and Behavior Specialist meet weekly to discuss individual student’s needs and current issues.  Head Teachers communicate with parents by email on a weekly and/or daily basis. Using a push-in model, the specialist work on individual and group skills while actively engaging with the student’s in the classrooms, in the lunchroom, on community trip, and vocational sites.

SCERTS Model

The Pathfinders Program follows the principles of the SCERTS Model, which is designed to focus on goals in social communication and emotional regulation through implementation of transactional supports (e.g. interpersonal, learning
supports).  The SCERTS Model is implemented throughout a student’s daily activities and across all settings in order to facilitate competence within these identified goal areas. All staff support the emotional well being of the student’s well being in order to maximize the availability for learning and being part of all activities.

Curriculum

The curriculum is based on the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks in order to meet district requirements for graduation while addressing individual accommodations and modifications as stated in the Individual Educational Plans of the students.  Most students are working at or just below grade level and many have passed the MCAS for that grade level.  A majority of our students go on to post-secondary educational opportunities after leaving League School.  Typical Pathfinders’ students will participate in four core academic classes (English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies) and Avocational opportunities each day. Weekly schedules also include courses run by specialists including music, chorus, art, adaptive physical education, cooking, and a number of other electives.  There is an active student council that meets one afternoon a week to plans fun activities for the student body.  Other clubs include the Joke Club and International Club. Clubs and electives are always being created to help meet the interests of our students.  While Pathfinders’ students follow similar schedules throughout the year, accommodations and modifications are made for each student based on team recommendations and goals outlined in their individual education plans.  The ultimate goal for Pathfinders’ students is to help them be as independent as possible across all settings as they get ready to for transition from League  School.

Accommodations

League School implements embedded accommodations into the student’s day beyond all the accommodations written into the student’s IEP.

  • Small groups
  • Sensory movement breaks
  • Visual and Written scripts to facilitate appropriate social communications
  • Social groups run by SLP’s and clinicians
  • Sensory gym
  • Quiet room breaks
  • Individualized visuals/prompts for emotional regulation cues

Vocational Experiences

In addition to a full academic program, Pathfinders’ students participate in daily vocational programs.  Students receive embedded social pragmatic training throughout their vocational training to improve a variety of skills necessary for future employment: customer relations, interview skills, phone skills, co-worker collaboration, resume building, etc.  In a weekly Job Club, each student works on formal job application processes and in a number of in-school job settings including: the League school store, the student kitchen, and Vocational Center. Pathfinders’ students are able to earn money for their participation in the vocational training program which is then available for spending on community-based activities.  When a student turns sixteen, they begin vocational training at offsite establishments such as T.J. Maxx, CVS, Meals On Wheels, Petco, Big Y etc…  Each student opens up a savings account and learns financial literacy skills by keeping track of their check deposits and debits during weekly visits to the bank.

Community Experiences

All Pathfinders classes extend learning beyond the classroom walls by going out on at least one community-based activity scheduled per week. Community activities range from academic outings (trips to museums) to vocational trips (one
vocational group provides a food delivery service for the school) to entertaining trips that emphasize tasks of daily living and social interactions (lunch at a local restaurant).  During community trips and other outings, Head Teachers, Teachers, and specialists accompany the classes and continually work on individual goals and social skills. Other outings include visiting post-secondary programs/institutions such as colleges, community colleges, and technical institutes.