Exceptional Learning Institute works hand-and-hand with the Behavioral Foundation Centers (BFC). BFC uses ABA therapy to decrease unwanted behaviors and increase skills where there are currently deficits.
Our team of teachers, BCBAs and RBTs will take the academic data, his or her likes and dislikes, any input you might have, and behavioral issues to create an educational plan specific to your child. The RBT/Paraeducator is trained to follow your child’s specific plan.
At ELI we know there are no limits to what your child can accomplish but there has to be a starting off point. Children must be taught at their cognitive level, any lower and they are bored any higher and they lose interest. It is with this in mind each child has their own individually tailored academic path that is continually changing to meet their needs. We holistically address the academic, social, and emotional needs of your child. To aid in this your child will start in an intensive instructional group of 1 staff member to 1-3 students. As they progress and their needs change, they may be moved to a general class with up to 9 or 10 students per staff member.
To improve a child’s academic skills, you must first help the child become interested in what you want them to learn. That is why at ELI we believe in strength-based, passion-based holistic learning. With this comes 2 different ways of teaching. We are teaching with a thematic approach, every week we have a new theme allowing the child to explore all subjects through a theme. Within this we also have passion based learning. Of course, they need to learn math, but we teach math starting with something the child loves. Your child may be crazy about Peppa Pig, his or her learning will revolve around Peppa Pig. As his or her interests change, we will adapt how we teach. This is how the individual educational plans for students are fluid. Not only do the plans change with your child’s interest we also take into account your child may not be on the same level in each subject. For instance, he or she may be on a basic level for writing, remedial level for reading and social studies but on level for math and science. This is how your child will be taught.
Teaching holistically means we look at your whole child and educate him or her beyond the core academic classes. It is a comprehensive approach where we address the academic, social, emotional, and ethical needs by integrating them into the curriculum. Holistic education helps to develop better communication and social skills. Students are able to make significant connections to a subject through associations in the community, at home or even other subjects. Learning become more natural and engaging which leads children to motivating your child to want to learn more. This self-motivation makes learning a fun and meaning full experience. We emphasize a positive environment by providing whole-child supports. Our curriculum emphasizes on applying critical-thinking skills that solve real-world problems. An example of this might be the student is making a recipe that calls for 2 eggs, but they are only using ½ the recipe. How many eggs would you need to use in the recipe?
As your child is taught using the holistic approach, in our ideal learning environment, he or she will optimize their potential and become a more independent learner. Leading to success in school and becoming a self-advocate. Which in turn, as they grow, will help them in finding a fulfilling job and establish a balanced multifaceted life.
At ELI we understand each child is unique, what skills they work on will vary greatly depending on the child. There are many skills your child will be mastering here are some examples:
Financial Literacy and Money Management
- Understanding the value of coins and bills
- Understanding what money is used for
- Count back money and make change
- Using money to purchase items at the store
- Having a job or selling items makes money
- Deciding to give, save or spend money
- Comparing prices of items
- Tipping appropriately
- Understanding the difference between a savings and checking account
- Understanding the difference between a credit and debit card
- Setting goals and making a plan to achieve them
- Fill out a job application
- Job interview
- Get dressed
- Use fork, spoon and butter knife
- Cary plate to sink after meals
- Brush teeth, wash face and hands
- Cooking skills (starting with the basics to meal planning and preparation)
- Cleaning skills (wipe up spills, dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, etc.)
- Laundry skills (sort, match, fold, put away etc.)
- Make a bed
- Wash and put away dishes
- Performing simple sewing tasks
- More complex skills (Change lightbulbs, unplugging the sink)
- Understanding what foods are healthy
- Making simple food items (sandwiches, scrambled eggs, etc.)
- Serve food
- Menu planning for a wide variety of meals
- Making meals for more than one person
Community Based Instruction (CBI)
We use Community Based Instruction to allow your child to learn functional and life skills in a community, non-school environment. The instruction occurs one to four times a month, depending on your child’s need. Although most students will participate in CBI it is a vital tool for the older students. CBI provides students with “real life experience” and hands-on learning opportunities to practice critical skills. Your child will be able to see, hear, smell and do things in a real-life setting. Students learning in a CBI environment are faced with obstacles a classroom teacher might not predict. Consequently, the students learn problem solving on a greater level then in a classroom setting, while in a safe environment with a staff member. Experiencing natural environments reinforces skills students have already learned in the classroom. When students learn this way, they progress at a much higher rate than the students who remain in the classroom.
Community-Based Instruction (CBI) is an evidence-based practice that supports students with disabilities during the transition from school to community life and promotes successful post-school outcomes for these students.
Boggs Center for Developmental Disabilities – Rutgers
Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)
Social-emotional learning improves self-awareness and self-control of your child while expanding the interpersonal skills vital for success in school, work and life. As your child grows in SEL he or she will be better able to cope with challenges that creep up every day as well as benefit socially, academically as well as professionally.
At ELI, we address the five areas of SEL everyday:
- Self-Awareness – comprehending emotions, thoughts, values and experiences and realizing they can influence actions.
- Self-Management – centers on an individual’s capability to regulate and control their emotions, thoughts and behaviors.
- Responsible Decision Making – the ability required to make constructive choices founded on individual and social factors: goals, ethical standards, safety concerns, and social norms.
- Social Awareness – ability to empathize with others, ability to treat others fairly.
- Relationship Skills – ability to make positive relations with others, as well as take their feelings into account in different situations. This helps to form and maintain beneficial, jointly rewarding relationships.