Effective special education requires great teaching. The Y.A.L.E School is on the cutting edge of best practice, working to integrate proven strategies into the classroom. Here are three of the evidence-based teaching strategies we are using:
1. Self-management strategies help students with disabilities increase independence, improve self-awareness, increase the capacity for self-regulation, and better generalize positive behavior changes to other settings. Over time, these strategies decrease the need for adult supervision and intervention and decrease oppositional reactance to adult-directed behavior plans. Self-management strategies can promote task focus, academic accuracy and productivity, and social communication and interaction, as well as reduce impulsive, disruptive behavior and stereotyped or repetitive behaviors. Students learn to self-monitor behaviors, self-administer breaks, self-reinforce, self-cue to use relaxation strategies or positive social communication, and self-initiate positive self-statements.
2. Peer-based learning can help students improve social and academic skills. With training and support from the clinical team, teachers use peer and small group task completion, peer modeling, peer tutoring, cross-age tutoring, peer mentoring, and peer rating/feedback on social behavior. Students are coached to communicate support and feedback to their peers in an effort to improve social competence.
3. Social skill development is an integral part of instruction at the Y.A.L.E School. Social skills instruction is incorporated into the academic curriculum, and is taught in structured group sessions run by clinical staff. Teachers find natural opportunities across the day to teach students skills in vivo. Research shows that social skills are best learned in a natural environment (e.g., using a conflict that has occurred spontaneously during a math class as an opportunity to mediate a social interaction). The clinical staff support teachers in initiating these daily lessons and provide weekly training and consultation.