Our Learning Pods Program is an ABA focused, full day educational program designed as an alternative to public schools. Our Learning Pods incorporates our unique ABA Therapy into an educational framework, allowing students to fully maximize their education while receiving specialized behavioral and social support. This program is created to utilize the Autism Scholarship, at no additional cost to families. Families may also choose to use insurance for “after school” therapy services as well, allowing their child to get the best of all words, including both academic and medical interventions.
STEAM Pod exploring the insides of a broken TV, identifying how to fix it and working together to fix it.
What Does a Learning Pod Look Like?
A Learning Pod consists of a group of 3-6 students, matched according to age and developmental ability and placed with one of our highly trained Registered Behavior Technicians. Our RBTs are overseen and supervised by a licensed Intervention Specialist and BCBA. This ensures the quality of both the ABA interventions as well as the educational content and training.
In a Learning Pod, each child’s academic and developmental needs are individually assessed by our highly qualified team of Licensed Intervention Specialists and BCBAs. Every child’s academic program and curriculum is unique. Because of the low ratio of therapists to students, we are able to provide an individually tailored education to each of our students!
Each Learning Pods is designed based on the needs of the individual learner. Students are assessed to determine their academic levels for math, reading, and writing as well their needs for social and behavioral support. We then place each student in a pod that is compatible with their academic and behavioral needs. Because each learner is unique and the structure of our Pods is designed to fit the needs of the individual, each Pod’s structure looks different.
Some students benefit from a highly structured environment with predictable routines and individualized schedules, stations or centers. These students may be learning how to follow a routine, follow multi-step directions, learn how to work independently, and learn how to be in a group and work with others, all while targeting developmentally appropriate academics.
Other students benefit from working more independently and one on one with the therapist, while engaging in group activities or projects to work on problem solving, collaboration, and teamwork. Students can enjoy projects ranging from building computers to designing tools. Our projects are driven by the interests of each student and structured to incorporate their academic goals and needs.
Still other students may benefit from focusing on daily living skills. Incorporating skills such as safety, money management, household chores, and job skills into academics allows learning to be more natural and enjoyable.
All students have academic programs that are built to maximize their learning capacity no matter their grade level or goals. Curricula are designed to be both challenging and accessible to our students.
What makes Learning Pods Special?
One of the wonderful aspects of our Learning Pods Program is that it gives us the ability to customize each child’s education and curriculum. Every program is designed to match each client’s academic level, and the unique interests of our clients informs the nature of their education. Even within a single pod, different curricula can be used for different children. Our clients play active roles in the development of their courses and fields of study! Whether a child is learning science and history while building a computer, or math and job skills while baking cookies, our clients are driving their own education. Within Learning Pods, education truly becomes a dynamic collaboration between therapist and student.
Littles Pod created Love Bugs for Valentines Day! They worked on social skills, fine motor skills, following directions and reading and math during this project!
In our Learning Pods Program, our clients are able to learn, grow and develop in an environment specifically designed to celebrate and honor neurodiversity. We embrace the perspectives and gifts that each child brings, collaborating with them to help them become who they choose to be.
We are able to do all of this with staff who are uniquely trained to work specifically with the autistic community and listen to their voices and perspectives.
Who can benefit from the Learning Pod Program?
Life Skills Group following directions to make brownies!
Students who are struggling in the public school system and who may need more support than public school can provide
Students who are doing well in school but simply want to explore a different way of learning
Students who are seeking a more neurodivergent affirming and empowering environment
Students who may benefit from an integrated approach to both academic learning and ABA interventions
Students who want to be a part of a community that celebrates neurodiversity and the different perspectives that come with it
Anyone who wants an individualized education designed specifically and uniquely for each child and catered to the neurodivergent experience
What does the academic curriculum look like?
Each child’s academic curriculum is individualized; our techs are trained in teaching different curriculums and creating activities that integrate all our client’s goals. When pods have a variety of skills, group projects and activities are a great way to meet the needs of all students. Modifying components of the activities to meet the various needs is just one way we address various needs. Centers/Stations are another way we address various needs, while teaching independence with working and following schedules. A student is able to work one on one (or small group of similar skill levels) with the therapist while other students are working independently on activities at their level.
Examples of curriculums we use: Reading A-Z, Edmark Reading Program, SignIt! ASL, Remedia. We are always researching curricula to incorporate as the needs of students change.
If you have a program you are already using and are enjoying, we can integrate that into our program!
We will collaborate with you to ensure your child’s academic needs are being met. Conferences are held quarterly to go over IEP goals and progress. Families can also meet as often as needed based on the family’s needs and schedule.
STEAM Pod designated a Chemist, Sculptor and Supply Manager to create and design this volcano! They researched and learned about volcanoes, and used math, communication, problem skills to create them!
Assessments: Our assessments vary by need and learner, but we assess students for math, reading, reading fluency, social and behavioral needs. We also assess why students may not be learning at their maximum capacity and target the skills needed to increase their ability to learn in a group or 1:1 setting. The academic program is then built by a BCBA and Intervention Specialist to ensure that it maximizes the student’s ability to learn.
Students follow the Ohio State Standards (https://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Learning-in-Ohio); students who require more modified learning and need multiple ways to demonstrate their learning may follow the Ohio Extended State Standards (https://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Special-Education/Ohios-Learning-Standards-Extended).
Academic programs are tied with long term goals, whether it be living independently and learning job skills or continuing to higher education. We work hard to incorporate Ohio academic standards into activities that directly relate to future learning and aspirations, as well as skills that can directly tie to future employment, such as projects rooted in Science/Technology/Engineering/Art/Math. Some examples of activities that have been completed from some of our students include:
Researching a non-functioning TV, identifying the problem and researching possible solutions in order to fix and make the TV fully functional again
Researching Proto-Putty and creating molds and items from it that were then used to make simple items such as fidgets and office supplies.
Including a Pod pet to help learn about habitats, animals and responsibility.
What age ranges can attend Pods?
We have Learning Pods for students Kindergarten through High School!
What is the Pods schedule?
Our Learning Pods run from 9am-2pm Monday Through Thursday year round, with planned breaks throughout the year. Many of our clients also choose to use Insurance 1 on 1 Services after the Pods school hours and on Friday, making their schedule 9am-3:30pm Monday through Friday. We can work with you to adjust your child’s schedule to meet their needs and the needs of your family.
Do I have to homeschool my child to be in the Learning Pods Program?
Because the Autism Scholarship is awarded in lieu of public schools, you will have to register your child as homeschooled in order to utilize the Autism Scholarship for the Pods Program. But don’t worry! We will walk you through that whole process and ensure that your child’s academic needs are being met.
We don’t have the resources or ability to homeschool our child, can we still be a part of pods?
Yes! You can choose to have us handle the brunt of the academics for your child, or you can choose to be more involved in their schooling. We will work with you and your child to find a schedule and academic plan that meets your needs!
I already homeschool my child, can you use my curriculum?
Yes! If you already have a curriculum that you love, we will happily integrate that curriculum into your child’s day! You can choose aspects of the curriculum you do at home, and aspects we do at the clinic, or you can request that we handle all of the curriculum.
I want my child to attend pods, but I also want my child to receive 1 on 1 services. Can you do both?
Absolutely! Many of our clients utilize insurance to receive 1 on 1 hours after our Pods day is over, as well as on Fridays. This allows for the best of both worlds as the client can receive both academic and medical interventions!
What if my child is not ready to learn in a group setting?
For children who engage in aggression or other high magnitude behaviors of concern, we can still provide services through the Autism Scholarship. We will provide therapy in a 1:1 setting until we are able to safely and effectively integrate them into an appropriate Learning Pod if that is the goal. One of the great things about our services is that we are able to meet each child at the point of their need, wherever that may be. We are then able to design a program that can support that child along the entire journey of their growth and development.