The Transition Program at League School educates students 16-22 with a focus on functional academics, vocational training, social communication, emotional regulation, independent living skills, community experiences, and safety awareness.
Classrooms within the Transition Program are divided by age and skill level, with instruction individualized according to the learning styles of each student. Across these five classrooms, there is a wide range of skills and abilities. Each classroom consists of up to eight students with one head teacher and up to two assistant teachers. The Transition Program is supported by a clinician, an occupational therapist, a speech- language pathologist, a behavior staff person, a program coordinator and a part-time physical therapist. Each of the five classroom teams meets once a week, before students arrive, to discuss the needs of the students and any important issues, which can be addressed immediately. In order to keep parents and guardians informed, there is daily communication from the classroom teachers either by email or communication booklets. Since many of the Transition Program students are also in our League School residences, there is daily email communication between the school and residential staff to share important information.
The Transition Program incorporates principles of the SCERTS Model, which is designed to target priority goals in social communication and emotional regulation through the implementation of transactional supports (i.e., interpersonal and learning supports). These goals are targeted across activities, settings, and social partners to facilitate competence in these identified goal areas. Examples of social communication goals in the Transition program include: initiating bids for interactions, requesting help, commenting, securing attention prior to requests, understanding nonverbal cues, initiating a variety of conversational topics, and collaborating and negotiating with peers in problem-solving. Examples of emotional regulation goals include: responding to partners’ use of behavioral strategies, decreasing the amount of time to recover from extreme dysregulation, identifying the need to utilize regulating strategies, using language strategies to request regulating activities, and using metacognitive strategies to regulate emotional state during periods of dysregulation. All staff members provide transactional supports to program for these goals and maximize learning opportunities.
In addition to the standard accommodations built into the program of our private school, such as low student to staff ratio, multi-sensory teaching methods, repetition of concepts, and modifications to the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, there are a multitude of accommodations provided to our students. These accommodations include, but are not limited to:
- Limited visual and auditory distractions
- Visual/written scripts to facilitate social interactions
- Use of visual schedules to provide structure, predictability and upcoming transitions
- Appropriate peer groups and structured conversational practice
- Augmentative communication strategies across settings
- Sensory movement breaks
- Access to a variety of strategies for emotional regulation
- A safety net of familiar staff in a highly structured setting with a high level of support
Functional academic skills, based upon the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, are the focus of the curriculum, and students learn to become more independent both at school, and in the community. Courses taught by our specialists, including music, art, and adaptive physical education, are also parts of each student’s weekly schedule. Vocational training is an important focus of the curriculum, and all of our students are provided the opportunity to participate in a variety of vocational experiences. In our training kitchen, students learn basic food preparation and learn to develop more independent living skills. Within the school setting, students perform recycling, stocking, delivery, cleaning, clerical, and landscaping tasks. In our school store, the Hawk’s Nest, students perform a variety of tasks including cashiering, inventory, stocking, food preparation, cleaning, and customer service. When the team believes students are ready to meet the demands and challenges of an off-site internship, they are selected to participate in one of our many community work-sites based on their work skills and interests. Each week, students earn a paycheck for their participation in vocational training, learn to budget their earnings, and then get an opportunity to cash their checks at a local bank.
The learning environment however, is not limited to the four walls of the League School’s classrooms. Teachers make extensive use of the community to allow students to practice their academic, vocational, daily living, safety, communication, and social skills across a variety of settings and to develop more independence and safety awareness as our students become young adults. During trips in the community, students participate in weekly shopping experiences to stores and restaurants in order to practice their skills in different settings with a variety of people. Students practice navigating the community safely, social communication, money handling, making personal purchases, shopping for classroom needs, reading and ordering from a menu, dining and manners, and social skills on these sites.
Transition to Adult Services
When students approach the age of 22, the Transition Program team assists the family in making a smooth transition from school to adult services. During the transition process, the student’s team of teachers and specialists meet with the student, the family, the school district, and potential adult service providers. The team develops a plan to focus on the student’s skills and needs and what the family has communicated is their vision for their son or daughter. As potential placements are identified, information is shared and visits are arranged for the family to tour the sites. Staff from the receiving program will observe the student in the familiar school or work setting, and school staff may also accompany the student to visit potential sites as well as provide adult service staff successful strategies and tools that work well for the student. When a decision is made, and a placement is chosen, the school will host a ceremony to celebrate the occasion with family and friends.