Y.A.L.E. School’s Ellisburg Autism Program, located at Connecticut Avenue and NJ Route 70 in the Ellisburg section of Cherry Hill, serves students 18 to 21 years of age with autism.
As part of Y.A.L.E.’s continuum of seamless educational services for students across their academic careers, students may transition to this program from the Y.A.L.E. School Audubon campus, or they may also be referred from another school or program.
The program is based at a self-contained classroom inside of the Y.A.L.E. School Ellisburg Campus, but operates independently and is designed to specifically address the educational and life skills needs of students with autism who will soon transition to adulthood. Students spend approximately two-thirds of their time in the program outside of the classroom — working at community-based internships and participating in frequent community-based instruction at local businesses such as Whole Foods, PETCO, the Cherry Hill Mall, Pitman Manor, and more. Other community-based instructional trips promote generalization of skills at restaurants, shopping areas, public transportation and more.
All students in the program also participate two to three times per week at our Green Tech Activity Lab (GTAL), improving their pre-vocational work-readiness skills with hands-on learning—preparing them for future paid employment. Students are engaged in a variety of timed, structured, high interest activities selected from the GTAL Library collection of project based kits. They also practice office jobs like cleaning, copying, filing and basic computer tasks. GTAL job coaches and support staff are highly trained to provide valuable guidance and feedback to prepare students for work in the real world.
When not out in the community, the students receive classroom-based instruction. Classrooms at the Ellisburg campus are equipped with state-of-the art educational technology, including computers and software for each student. The school has a well-equipped indoor multipurpose room with fitness area for physical education, an auditorium, kitchen, nurse's office, and more. The campus has several full time behaviorists on staff and the autism program is overseen by Y.A.L.E.’s full time Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) team.
The curriculum at the Ellisburg Autism Program emphasizes functional academics, vocational training, job sampling, and/or job coaching on an individual basis. The program uses evidence-based instruction to improve students' access to the curriculum and strengthen their academics, independence, life skills, functional communications, fine and gross motor skills, and adaptive behavior.
Y.A.L.E. School Ellisburg Team Leaders:
Rachael Sautter, Ph.D., BCBA-D - Director of Educational Services for Y.A.L.E. School’s Autism Program.
Dr. Sautter has been with the Y.A.L.E. School since 2007.
She earned her Ph.D. in applied behavior analysis from Western Michigan University and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA-D). Dr. Sautter has conducted several research studies and her work has been published in a variety of peer-reviewed journals and books.
With more than 12 years of experience in the field of developmental disabilities, Dr. Sautter has worked as a behavioral therapist for children with a diagnosis of autism both at home and in public school settings. Dr. Sautter has also taught at Western Michigan University and served as a practicum supervisor for graduate and undergraduate students completing behavior analytic fieldwork.
Ann Davidson, M.A. - Principal and Director of Y.A.L.E. School’s Ellisburg campus.
Ann has been with the Y.A.L.E. family of programs for nearly 30 years. As the school leader, she supervises school operations, staff and programs, and provides overall administration.
She earned her undergraduate degree in political science from Susquehanna University and her teacher certification from Rowan University. She earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from Rider University.
Ann began her career as a teacher assistant at Y.A.L.E. nearly 30 years ago and all of her educational training has been at Y.A.L.E. She has worked with students with a range of brain-based disabilities, including those with neurological and emotional disabilities, as well as those with autism spectrum disorders. Deeply committed to evidence-based special education, Ann works to ensure that teachers and aids at the Ellisburg campus are aware of and implementing the latest in research-based instruction.
Y.A.L.E. School Ellisburg Autism Program offers:
- Low student-to-staff ratio
- Highly-qualified teachers
- Weekly supervision by Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs)
- Small group instruction
- ABA-based instruction
- Data-based instruction and intervention
- A curriculum emphasizing functional academics, with a primary focus on transition, prevocational and life-skills training
- Instructional strategies including errorless teaching, incidental teaching, strategy instruction, functional behavioral assessments, individualized activity schedules, and verbal behavior
- Individualized schedules of reinforcement
- Community-based instruction to promote generalization
- Frequent communication between school, home, and the student’s home district
- An extended school year program
- Transition consultations