The AIM (Achieving Independent Milestones) program is designed with a focus on the intensive programming and supports that are needed for students exhibiting significant deficits in the areas of cognition and learning. The programmatic instructional model lends itself to increased repetition and practice of skills within a total communication approach. Particular focus is on the functionality of the instruction in order that the students gain independence, with both adaptive and academic skills. The alternative curriculum parallels the scope and sequence of the general education curriculum and is aligned with state standards. Because of the intensity of the supports given, the classroom size is smaller (approximately 8 students) with a lower staff to student ratio. Access to the general education and core curriculum is also embedded in the structure of the day, per the recommendations as found in each student’s IEP.
In addition to the focus on student independence and the acquisition of functional academic skills, students also are afforded a full complement of related services. These services can include counseling from either a school social worker or psychologist, occupational therapy, speech therapy and/or physical therapy. The specific related services for individual students are outlined in their IEPs.
The support from the services of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) will also be available to address individual, group, and classroom dynamics.
Students in the AIM program are unique individuals with challenges that are specific to their learning profile. However, students typically have had difficulty in the following areas:
- Independent functioning
- Health/medical concerns
These challenges have resulted in the need for specialized instruction in a setting outside of the general education classroom.
The delivery of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE) is not only a legal mandate but a program goal. However, the environment that proves to be least restrictive as well as appropriate to meet the students’ unique needs is a team decision and is as individual as the students themselves. General education placement decisions should be made with the student in mind, specifically with regard to gaining meaningful educational benefit and participating in the classroom environment in a meaningful way.
As students improve upon their independent skills, staff will support them toward an increased level of general education participation. The ultimate goal is for students to return to their general education class utilizing strategies they have learned and incorporated as established skills.