The Welcoming Class is a 2-year early intervention program that addresses the specific needs of children with autism spectrum disorder from 4 to 6 years of age. Students are placed in a self-contained (or closed) class within a regular school.
Smaller class sizes between 5 to 6 students provide a low teacher/student ratio. The main objective is to provide an environment with individualized support for the students to be better prepared with the necessary adaptive and readiness skills for their successful integration into the Grade 2 program. Along with academics, focus is placed in the areas of communication, social, emotional and sensory-motor skills. The use of technology as a teaching tool is integrated into daily learning activities.
Consultative services are provided by a speech and language pathologist, psychologist, occupational therapist, special education and autism spectrum disorder consultants.
The decision to place a student in a self-contained class is only considered after numerous attempts have been unsuccessful to incorporate the student within the regular classroom. Such a decision is made after appropriate consultation with the student's parents, teachers and professionals via a case-conference.
The objective of this program, as with all self-contained classrooms is to integrate the student into a regular classroom within two years.