The Hattie Larlham Autism Preschool, directed by the Hattie Larlham Research Institute in collaboration with Portage County Educational Service Center, will provide evidence based services to preschool age children with a primary diagnosis of autism. The goal is to develop a replicable program that provides intensive early intervention services to autistic children ages 2½ to 5 years old. The primary objective is the achievement of personal independence and social responsibility for the autistic child that will lead to successful transition to a regular public school kindergarten with minimal support needs. This program will offer instructional programming and related services with one-to-one and very small group instruction in an integrated classroom. It will be a full school day program offered year-round with a class ratio of five or six autistic children and five or six typical children.
The specific program objectives include: establish a replicable preschool model incorporating the elements common to effective intervention programs; design an Individual Education Plan (IEP) template that provides for consistent intervention and reliable measurement of progress; create "Best Practice" guidelines for dissemination to families and professionals in the field of autism; develop a transition planning model that will effectively transition each child to his or her school district at age five or six; and contribute to the field of early intervention programming for autism through scholarly research and publication.
The curriculum content will emphasize five basic skill domains including: attendance to elements in the environment, imitation, appropriate play skills with toys, social interaction, comprehension and use of language. The program will incorporate the HighScope preschool education curriculum and the Social Communication, Emotional Regulation and Transactional Support (SCERTS) model.