Anderson Center for Autism
Anderson Center for Autism (ACA) has been serving individuals with special needs since 1924. Today, ACA serves individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and related disabilities ages, 5-21 in our Residential School program and ages 21 and up in our Adult Services program. ACA’s mission, “Optimizing the Quality of Life for Individuals with Autism”, guides our programmatic practice and is combined with a commitment to utilizing evidence-based teaching methods.
Children’s Education Program:
Anderson’s certified NYS 853 School is specially designed to support children with autism and related disorders. The school welcomes 138 children ages 5-21, across 23 classrooms with a ratio of 6:1:3.5 (6 students, 1 teacher, an average of 3.5 teacher’s aides/assistants). Anderson Center adheres to evidence-based teaching strategies, especially those grounded in Applied Behavior Analysis, as the most effective way to teach academic, social, school-sufficiency, communication and transition skills. ACA’s unique interdisciplinary teams include case managers, teachers, school administrators, residential team members, behavior analysts, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, registered nurses and clinical psychologists who work together to educate and support student development. ACA understands that a child’s rate of success depends on the involvement of the family therefore, through Anderson Family Partners, ongoing parent education and involvement in the education process is highly encouraged.
Children’s Residential Program:
For the students who reside at Anderson Center for Autism’s 100 acre campus, education does not stop at the end of the school day. Using evidence-based teaching strategies grounded in Applied Behavior Analysis, students continue to learn adaptive behavior, social and recreation skills in their residence (“home away from home”). Students are actively engaged in after school clubs and sports including dancing, yoga, soccer, art, computers, basketball and many more. Special Olympics is a major component of the residential program and we help to shape student athletes to qualify for competitions. A typical day in a residence includes, group meetings (using visual supports), structured daily schedules, opportunities to engage in favorite leisure activities, off-campus trips, use of our Recreation Center and in summer months, swimming in our campus pool! As a participant in the NYS Child Nutrition Program, student meals are monitored by a Registered Dietician who helps plan tasty and healthy seasonal meals across breakfast, lunch and dinner. Each residence has an assigned Behavior Analyst and a Bachelor’s level Residential Behavior Specialist who work directly with students and train staff on the most effective ways to teach skills and manage interfering behavior.
Adult Day Habilitation Program:
Located in Dutchess and Ulster counties, ACA’s four LifeLong Learning Centers (Day Habilitation sites) emphasize continued learning, skill development, increased independence, vocational training and community participation for the over 100 adult learners served. Teaching methods are evidence-based and grounded in Applied Behavior Analysis. Interdisciplinary teams comprised of Day Hab Instructors, Administrators, residential team members, behavior analysts and registered nurses work together to educate and support an individual’s development. A program specialist provides assessment, curriculum and teaching support to instructors and team room staff. Access to speech and occupational therapy is provided via our Article 16 Clinic.
Adult Community Residences/Individual Residential Alternatives (IRAs):
Located across three counties, ACA’s community homes focus on teaching adaptive behavior, social, recreation, household and personal management and community participation skills using evidence-based teaching strategies, especially those grounded in Applied Behavior Analysis. Individuals are encouraged and supported to engage in wellness activities including opportunities to exercise, eat healthy and nutritious meals, socialize with others, access favorite leisure and recreation offerings and participate in spiritual or religious events. Community homes are nestled within established neighborhoods where individuals learn to become good neighbors who shop, volunteer, work, dine and recreate within the community.
Article 16 Clinic:
Article 16 Clinics are OPWDD-certified treatment facilities that provide clinical services to individuals with developmental disabilities, who are over the age of 18, have Medicaid and are enrolled with the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). Anderson’s Article 16 clinic offers Speech/Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy evaluations and treatment as indicated. In addition ACA’s Article 16 Clinic provides sexuality assessments and counseling for individuals who qualify.
Anderson Center Consulting:
Our Consultation team includes Licensed Behavior Analysts, Board Certified Behavior Analysts, Certified Special Educators, Behavior Specialists, Certified School Psychologist, Speech Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists. We provide professional development and training to school districts, agencies and families supporting individuals with ASD and related special needs. Our consultants also provide individual/student specific training and guidance with regard to functional behavior assessments, creating behavior intervention plans, developing individualized learning supports, building independent behavior and much more. Through training and targeted development, our Autism Supportive Programs, consultants help businesses, organizations, and communities understand, serve and support individuals with ASD and other special needs.