Nashoba Learning Group (NLG) operates a center-based private special education day program for male and female students with diagnoses of Autism and related disorders from 3 to 22 years of age. NLG does not discriminate in admission, administration of its policies, or application of its curriculum on the basis of race, color, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, or national or ethnic origin. Nashoba Learning Group strives to provide state of the art education and intervention services to children with autism and related developmental disabilities. Our services are designed to allow each student to achieve their potential so that they can participate as fully as possible in their families, local schools, and communities.
Students are referred for admission to NLG by their local public school district. Each student has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) developed by a Team that includes the local school district, the family, and NLG. The Team develops annual goals and objectives for the child’s education that are based on evaluations of the child’s: developmental level and skill level; history of progress; the nature of the child’s specific symptoms of disability; and, the school district’s learning standards, as adapted for the child.
NLG develops an individualized curriculum for each student that is designed to allow the child to achieve the IEP objectives set by the team. This curriculum maps the IEP objectives to the corresponding learning standards contained in the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks and to specific NLG Learning Programs, or lesson plans.
All NLG Learning Programs include the gathering of daily data on the student’s progress and specific standards for assessing whether the student has mastered the program. These data are summarized periodically and presented to the Team, so that the child’s educational progress can be assessed. NLG Learning Programs utilize the rich array of teaching techniques developed through Applied Behavior Analysis and validated by scientific research as effective for the education and treatment of individuals with autism.
In creating each child’s individualized curriculum, NLG strives to give each child access to as many strands of the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks as is appropriate for the student and consistent with the student’s IEP. For academic subjects, NLG defers to the local school district’s curriculum in the selection of learning standards and where appropriate, in the texts and materials to be used.
Consistent with their diagnoses of autism and inability to be served in a regular education placement, the majority of the students admitted to Nashoba Learning Group lack access skills required to achieve the learning standards in the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and participate in regular education. The majority of NLG’s Learning Programs are designed to teach these fundamental access skills.
These learning programs are grouped under the following categories;
- Language and communication;
- Appropriate behavior;
- Social skills;
- Pre-academic skills;
- Community and daily living skills;
- Motor, leisure and play skills.
These skills correspond most closely to the preK-K learning standards of the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. The access skills map to all the Subject areas of the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, with the majority relating to learning standards in the English Language Arts and Health Curricula.
When a student gains sufficient access skills to participate in grade level academics, they would generally be included in regular education programs at their local public school, with the level of inclusion and supports provided determined by the IEP Team. NLG provides support for students whose IEP plans call for appropriate amounts of supported inclusion in regular education programming. When the student is included, NLG follows the curriculum of the regular education classroom, modifying and/or pre-teaching lesson plans as needed by the child. If the student is able to participate in regular education without NLG support, the student graduates from NLG and returns to their local school district.
NLG works with the local school district to determine how the child will participate in the MCAS assessment process. If the student does not sit for MCAS examinations at their local school, then NLG prepares an Alternate Assessment Portfolio for submission, when those are required.