What better future can we envision for a child than to successfully navigate the outside world? Our goal at Monarch Center for Autism is to empower our students to move beyond our program. The unique characteristics that define Monarch help us to achieve this goal. Below are some highlights:
|Technology||Life Skills||Social Activities|
|Media Center||Sensory Intervention||Partnering with Families|
|Outcomes Management System|
Autistic School Environment
Built in 2006, Monarch’s autistic school campus is a place of quiet comfort and safety that encourages socialization. Our buildings are equipped with flexible spaces that allow our staff to work comfortably either one-on-one or in small groups to enhance individualized learning.
Our revolutionary building design offers our students a floor plan of straight paths, color-coded entrances, a quiet educational and teaching environment for students with autism spectrum disorders, a soft color palette and gentle lighting. All are designed to appease the sensory needs of our students. Extra sound proofing, quiet wooden lockers, odorless paint and carpet, up lighting (which eliminates shadows and noisy flickering) and an abundance of natural sunlight, further contribute to the calming environment.
In addition to our modern learning spaces, our campus is equipped with special sensory rooms, private quiet rooms, computer labs, spaces for art, music, physical fitness, play, recreation and relaxation.
Educational software, video modeling and web-based tools, including VizZle™, are used liberally during the school day to supplement each student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Computers are an integral and essential way to reinforce concepts by taking advantage of the attraction they hold for individuals on the autism spectrum. In addition, many of our students use Augmentative Communication Devices, and each of our classrooms has computers and a SmartBoard, which facilitate interactive lessons.
A vast array of visual images, including generic and personalized line drawings, photographs, animations and games, are organized and indexed in Monarch’s Media Center. This enables easy and efficient access for instructional usage. As a result, individual programs are created that provide a foundation for each student’s level of visual understanding and language ability.
Classes are taught in a natural environment and address social skill development, visual language-based communication, executive functioning, academic skills (e.g., math, social studies, science, language arts, reading instruction), activities of daily living, IEP goals and objectives, fine and gross motor skills, sensory intervention, and behavioral support.
Not only are occupational, speech-language, art and music therapy sessions extremely beneficial for our students from a salutary standpoint, but they afford them new opportunities including participation in annual music recitals and in art shows at local venues.
In and out of the classroom we rehearse real world situations and work to instill everyday concepts. Our team blends academic lessons with life skills to strengthen our students’ abilities to manage, navigate and enjoy family and social activities. Lessons vary by age, but include all activities of daily living such as grocery shopping, dressing, cooking, table setting, laundry, and mail delivery/sorting. Social skills are reinforced in each of these onsite and offsite experiences.
Monarch features a host of spaces – both inside and outside – that promote sensory intervention. Our Gross Motor Rooms (Fitness Zones), sponsored by the Cleveland Browns and the United Way of Greater Cleveland, offer a variety of activities that support physical fitness, sensory intervention and motor planning, including treadmills, cycles, a Bouncy Bounce, Zig Zag Balance Beam, and an Airbounder. In addition, the indoor pool located on Bellefaire’s campus, has been incorporated into Monarch’s school curriculum.
Our Snoezelen Rooms (Multi-Sensory Rooms) promote calm focus and relaxation through activities that provide visual, auditory, olfactory, tactile, vestibular and proprioceptive input.
Outside we have a state-of-the-art playground with a soft surface and a fitness trail, as well as a sensory garden specially designed for children with autism, replete with beautiful plantings and pavers created by our students.
Monarch students welcome visitors from the community, including fire fighters, police officers, dentists, doctors, and others, who share information about their professions. In addition, our students take field trips to local farms, museums, restaurants, parks, playgrounds, and more. Each field trip is planned in conjunction with a unit of study to reinforce the concepts taught in that unit.
Our partnership with a typical private school in the area, enables some of our students to attend weekly classes with typical peers, and our Transitional Education Program allows students to hone their vocational skills at local hotels, grocery stores and nursery schools.
By extending instruction beyond the classroom walls and into the community, we are able to reinforce positive behavior in new and unfamiliar environments. This allows students to gain valuable, real-world experiences.
Through circle time, recess, birthday celebrations, group activities, team lunches, bake sales, field trips, a science fair, and more, we foster an environment that promotes daily socialization. In addition, our students participate in myriad social activities throughout the school year including a Valentine’s Day dance, trick-or-treating at Halloween, winter and spring music recitals, a science fair, and the annual campaign for student body President.
In addition, Monarch Summer Social Language Program offers a fun-filled experience where children build social and communication skills, gain self-confidence and create lasting friendships.
Our staff partners with families to build trust, promote continuity of learning and reinforce key strategies. Together with families, our professionals work to build a consistent and comfortable structure within which success is always celebrated. We understand and acknowledge that the parents/caregivers of our students are our greatest resources and strongest partners. Our staff welcomes and values their observations, thoughts, ideas and concerns.
Parents and caregivers receive daily updates, attend bi-monthly staffings and annual IEP meetings with their children’s teachers and therapists, and some receive visits and additional training opportunities. In addition, we have a website, email blast, quarterly newsletter, and annual satisfaction survey designed specifically for our families, as well as a Monarch Parent Group that serves as a support network and coordinates fund raisers including a craft fair.
Monarch’s Family Training, Support & Social Activities Program offers the whole family opportunities to participate in social activities. Examples include adapted movies, sibling workshops, family overnight camp, arts & crafts and cooking activities, lunch outings, and more.
Student and program progress are continually assessed with a unique data collection system that measures performance through parameters of independence, accuracy, participation and behaviors. Problems with attention, behavior and other factors that interfere with active learning are monitored so that appropriate adjustments can be made to educational plans to reduce or minimize interfering behaviors.
Monarch staff uses this system to assess baseline or entry level of performance on goals and objectives for students’ Individual Educational Plans (IEPs). Because the system has proven to be sensitive to change over time, it is used to monitor progress made on IEPs. At the end of the year, student reports are generated that contain both quarter-by-quarter progress and a year-end summary of progress. Reports are organized by functional domain. Therefore, progress can be viewed for goals and objectives within educational categories (e.g., ADLs, Behavioral, Math, Speech-Language, etc.) for each student, group of students, and for the school. This data collection system facilitates an evidence-based approach to the educational management of children on the autism spectrum.