Our Nashville Autism Resources
Our Program for Autism Spectrum Disorder
Spectrum Nashville was founded on a few core beliefs. First, the diversity of the needs of individuals affected by autism requires that autism programs and autism services be tailored to the individual. Second, the Nashville autism community is in need of a greater number of specialized programs and services to meet these diverse needs. Third, solutions for autism intervention and education can be found through combining research based practices with creativity and innovation.
We strive to provide Nashville with unique programs and services that meet both the critical needs of individuals diagnosed with autism as well as parents, teachers, other autism service providers. Ultimately, our goal is to reach anyone affected by autism in the greater Nashville area and beyond.
The design of our programs and services can be best described as a fusion of art and science. Continued development of these innovative programs requires a diverse network of expertise. Our development team is comprised of employees and volunteers from applied fields such as behavior analysis, occupational therapy, and speech language pathology as well as those with backgrounds in music, theater, art design, photography, and architecture.
Our Approach to Autism Spectrum Disorder Intervention
Building Blocks is our unique program for teaching children with autism spectrum disorder the critical social and language skills they need to communicate. What separates Building Blocks model from other approaches is our combination of imaginative, play-based teaching with a greater utilization of technology during instruction. Building Blocks instruction is provided in the home setting to insure participants in our program gain meaningful skills that they can use at home. We provided services to Brentwood, Franklin, and Nashville TN. Participants in our program receive between 4.5 and 7.5 hours per week of targeted home-based instruction.
One of our biggest goals with the Building Blocks program was to take into account the unique sensory experience of children with autism spectrum disorder and use technology to design a supportive learning experience. A behavior demonstrated by many individuals with autism spectrum disorder is talking out the lines they hear in movies and television shows. This behavior might seem unusual, but when you consider the sensory experience of the child with autism spectrum disorder it puts it in greater perspective. Many people with autism spectrum disorder have described the difficulty their sensory systems have when trying to access the world around them. The shifting, unstable sensory information of the natural environment can be chaotic for someone with autism spectrum disorder. However, some individuals with autism have described that they find information presented on television and computer screens to be more stable and easy to process. This could be the reason why some children with autism spectrum disorder speak what they hear on screen; the information is simply more easy to access for their sensory systems.
The unfortunate side to this is that much of what children with autism spectrum disorder learn from screens is not functional, but our goal is to change that with the building blocks program. At Spectrum Nashville we internally customize interactive computer based instruction that helps children to more actively participate in learning how to communicate and socialize. Through collaboration between those with backgrounds in art and design and experts in the autism field we have created an engaging one of a kind learning experience. Along with using recognizable and beloved children's characters to lead instruction, we also have the child's actual family members participate in leading computer based instruction. This allows children with autism spectrum disorder to use technology as a gateway to learning how connect with the most important people in their lives.
Following an initial evaluation and assessment, an individualized education plan containing goals and objectives related to communication and social skills is developed. Goals are targeted using a variety of research-based practices with a heavy emphasis on modeling and play-based incidental teaching. Instructors collect data on student performance which is frequently examined to ensure meaningful progress toward individual goals. Family involvement can greatly enhance the success of building blocks instruction and parents are encouraged to participate in our family training program during which time they learn to implement the teaching practices used by our instructors in the home and community settings.
Our Approach for Autism Spectrum Disorder Education
Parents of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder understand the challenges of affording therapy services and sifting through mountains of information to find effective strategies to support their child. Participating in therapy and parent training can change the life of those affected by autism spectrum disorder, but many families never have these opportunities. Over the course of a year the cost of therapy can exceed the household incomes of many families.
Even for parents with access to therapy services teaching their child at home can be challenging. The goal of our education program at Spectrum Nashville is to provide practical tools and strategies to parents, educators, and services providers in Nashville and beyond. Our educational services can be used by service providers and educators to enhance teaching and help families who are unable to afford therapy teach important skills at home.
Spectrum Nashville’s mission is to promote the wellbeing of those affected by autism spectrum disorder through innovative education, intervention, and research.
Spectrum Nashville’s vision is to become the leader in increasing the public’s awareness and understanding of practices that support individuals with autism spectrum disorder. We aim to provide the highest quality intervention, support innovative research, and create resources that all members of our community can use to improve the lives of individuals with autism spectrum disorder.
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