The Integrated Learning Academy in Newton, Massachusetts (ILAN) is a center-based school for students with Autism and other Developmental Disorders, serving students from the ages of three to twenty-two.
“Given that Autism is a complex disorder with neurological underpinnings, the design of a comprehensive educational program must be in the hands of an interdisciplinary team comprised of Educators, Behavior Analysts, Neuropsychologists, Speech Pathologists and Medical Doctors,” Ellyn Ellis, a representative from ILAN, said in an email to Boston Tutoring Services.
ILAN offers various therapeutic services, including Occupational Therapy (OT), Speech-Language Pathology (SLP), and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). The school supports students’ individual needs through personalized curriculum and social development, as well as fostering a small, compassionate atmosphere with a 1:1 student-to-staff ratio.
“At ILAN, the highest standards are set for each individual student. For some children, our goal is to reduce or (even eliminate the symptoms of Autism) and eventually decrease the supports required in the natural environment,” Ellis said. “For other children, the program focuses on the development of functional skills that will increase the chances of success in the least restrictive environment. Regardless of functioning level, the educational team strives to fulfill each child’s full potential.”
Beyond students’ individual needs, ILAN supports families through home ABA services, counseling with a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), sibling groups, and a Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). Communication between the students’ academic teachers and therapeutic services is open and always available via email or phone. Monthly meetings, a daily home log, and direct contact with staff members are critical to ILAN’s family-centered philosophy.
“We strive to build long-term relationships with families so that we can provide support as needed for the child’s development: from early childhood through their transition to adult services,” Ellis said. “We believe that in order to provide high quality services for children, it is important to attend to the specific needs of families and their particular circumstances. Parents are viewed as an integral part in the educational team and input is highly valued in setting intervention goals.”