Internationally renowned behavior analyst visits schools to monitor program; April is National Autism Awareness Month
MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. (April 5, 2016) – Vincent J. Carbone, Ed.D., a board-certified behavior analyst and CEO of the internationally renowned Carbone Clinic, toured Rebecca Turner Elementary School, Benjamin Turner Middle School and Traphagen Elementary School recently. The schools are utilizing an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program through the Carbone Clinic and educators are seeing much success in teaching students with autism spectrum disorders.
April is National Autism Awareness Month. Nearly a quarter century ago, the Autism Society launched a nationwide effort to promote autism awareness, inclusion and self-determination for all, and assure that each person with Autism Spectrum Disorder is provided the opportunity to achieve the highest possible quality of life.
The school district’s relationship with the Carbone Clinic is now in its second year and was implemented by Director of Student Services Felicia Gaon. The schools now have a total of 80 students learning through these evidence-based and research-based classroom methods. Students came into the program needing to be taught prerequisite skills for learning, such as sitting, attending to instruction and cooperating with an instructor.
“The students have made significant gains in these programs,” Gaon said. “These students came in with a lot challenging behaviors and are performing wonderfully.”
Students who were non-communicative now know between 50 and 80 sign-language hand signals to communicate with teachers. Students who could not sit down in a seat for more than 30 seconds are now engaged in schoolwork that involves writing, reading and counting.
“These could be absolutely challenging situations but through the support of teachers, administrators and the program these students are learning necessary education skills,” Carbone said. “The emphasis here in Mount Vernon is learning development and skill development that goes beyond ensuring that these students are safe and staying in the classroom. There’s real learning going on and it’s really nice to see.”
Carbone was visiting the schools to ensure the Carbone Clinic is helping the district meet its intended goals for the program and to see the teachers use the skills they had learned to provide a positive learning environment for the students. “I came to see first-hand the schools and the teachers and review how we’re doing and how our consultation services are being provided,” he said. “I’m really very impressed to the point that I have colleagues who want to visit classes in the program. In the New York region, this is the classroom I’d like them to come visit.”
There are many advantages to having a program such as this in place in a school district, Gaon said. “The program allows students with disabilities to stay in their home school communities. And, teachers can monitor the environment better than if the students were placed in a school that is out-of-district where we’d only visit two times a year.”
“If I had a child with special needs I would want them in this classroom,” Carbone said. “Of all the school districts we’re in, Mount Vernon really has a special place for me. It’s the instrumental support from administrators like Felicia Gaon, setting high expectations and giving the teachers the support to meet those expectations.”
About Mount Vernon City School District
With more than 8,000 students in 16 schools, the Mount Vernon City School District is committed to providing a quality education to its children as well as developing programs that meet the diverse academic and social needs of its students.