Life Skills Program:|
The Desert Heights Academy Life Skills Program offers quality educational programming for students with mild to severe developmental disabilities. The program is designed to meet the individual needs of each student through the use of a highly structured system that fosters functional life skill development, behavioral growth and successful transitions among
school, home, community and work settings.
The Life Skills Program is designed by highly experienced and educated professionals in order to successfully teach students how to become more independent within their community and home environments, as well as introduce and teach replacement behaviors to reduce aggressive tendencies.
The Desert Heights Academy Life Skills Program provides educational programming for students with various developmental disabilities and medical diagnoses, including autism, Down Syndrome, Prader Willi, Fragile X, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, Asperger’s syndrome, and other health impairments.
Our Mission: The mission of the Desert Heights Academy Life Skills Program is to provide a highly structured, consistent learning environment that prepares students to successfully transition into healthy, functional, productive post school environments. Our Program is committed to the success of each student, independent of the severity of disability.
The Desert Heights Life Skills curriculum is tailored to address the unique needs of each student as outlined in their
IEP (Individual Education Program). The Life Skills curriculum is a real world application of skills that assists students intransitioning between school, home, community and work settings.
Classrooms are structured in a way that caters to the needs of a variety of different disabilities and functioning levels.
Students’ various levels of functioning will be addressed through the use of several types of activities and techniques.
A key component of the Desert Heights Academy Life Skills Program utilizes the Structured Teaching Approach. Four elements are considered when developing the Life Skills Classrooms. These elements include:
- Physical Environment
- Daily Routine and Schedule
- Work Systems
- Visual Structure
Physical Environment is a critical element of the Structured Classroom. It is important to have defined areas in the
classroom that are known to the students and visually recognizable as different. There is an area provided for students to complete independent/individual work at desks. These areas are only used for independent work such as Job Boxes and Work Systems. There are also areas for Group Work, Leisure Activities, Break Areas, and Time out areas (time outs
will be explained in the Physical Management section of the handbook). Clear visual and physical boundaries are provided
in the classroom to ensure students are aware of change in activity or work session based upon visual differences in setting.
Daily Schedules are used for each individual student as well as for the overall routine of the entire classroom. Schedules are posted and visually accessible to all students, which assists students in their transition from one activity to the next or
one area of the classroom to another. Students individual work schedules are developed according to developmental and
academic functioning levels. Daily routines and schedules are followed consistently in order to help students become familiar
with what is to be expected and what activities are to be completed.
Work Systems are developed taking into account the type of work, the amount of work to be completed, the time in
which the student has to complete the work, what it means to be finished and what is to be done once tasks are complete.
There are several types of work systems including left to right processing, matching materials, grouping, assembly, written material, and more. Work systems will be used differently for students in the classroom based upon individual developmental
levels and abilities.
Visual Structure is important in areas of organization, clarity and instruction. Activities are created and prepared in a way that visually represents
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