Animal Therapy |  Speech Therapy |  Occupational Therapy  

Speech Therapy

Students work daily on improving their speech, language, and social pragmatic skills. Additionally, in speech therapy we focus on improving all aspects of communication. Our goal is to help students form necessary relationships and increase function in day-to-day life. Some of our Speech Therapy goals include:

  • Forming relationships with peers;
  • Communicating wants and needs, both verbally and nonverbally;
  • Initiating communication with a communicative partner;
  • Demonstrating an understanding of social pragmatic skills; AND
  • Developing skills needed to engage in reciprocal conversation.

Occupational Therapy

Students work daily on improving their motor skills. In OT, we focus mainly on functional skills needed in everyday settings.

Some of our Occupational Therapy goals include:

  • Perform functional task that require motor skills;
  • Provide sensory activities that promote development in required areas;
  • Develop sensory diets and accommodations as needed for our students; AND
  • Partner with teachers to promote the most effective programming for students

Animal Therapy

The Autism Academy has six dogs as classmates. Throughout the school year, each campus shares an extraordinary relationship with six witty and adorable dogs:

pups

Mozzie, Kodabear, Sunset, Willow, Patriot, and Rebel.

Dogs can assist children with autism in many ways. In fact, there’s a host of benefits to having a dog as a classmate and a friend! Many children with autism have a strong need for a structured, routine environment, because change can create feelings of fear and anxiety. Children with autism can be extremely systematic, orderly, and routine oriented. Disruptive events that occur as minor incidents can cause an extreme breakdown amongst students with autism. Dogs can help calm, console and distract them from such disappointments. Service and therapy dogs also attract individuals who are eager to connect with an outside world that might not understand them. They can aid non-verbal students by responding to hand commands. In addition, exposure to companion animals has been shown to boost levels of responsibility, self-esteem and autonomy in children.

Service dogs and therapy dogs are greatly beneficial; however they are expensive. An estimate for one trained dog is upward of $14,000, depending on the needs. After the purchase, it takes approximately nine months of training before the new dog is prepared to fully function in the classroom. Lorie Crabtree has been training dogs for more than a decade and has graciously provided “Dog Time” services at the Autism Academy for Education and Development since 2014. The dogs she brings on campus are trained to work specifically with the kids at the school. Our furry four-legged classmates provide unique support to our students by enhancing their social, emotional and cognitive development.