Welcome to the Pingree Center Website. We hope the information you find on our site will provide the information you are looking for. Please feel free to get in touch with us with any questions you might have about autism or our center.
The Pingree Center provides full day programming, Monday through Thursday, for the preschool and kindergarten children. Half day scheduling is in effect on Fridays for the elementary/secondary grades. All children attend half days, Monday through Thursday, during the summer session. Our school operates on an eleven month program with breaks for holidays, school district career ladder days, and other scheduled breaks. Children are transported in buses that arrive at school at 8:00 A.M.
Although as much effort as possible will be put into accommodating parent/caretaker needs and scheduling concerns, the bus which each child is assigned is determined by a number of factors (i.e. transportation, location, room assignment, etc). Transportation will pick up and return the children to various areas throughout the valley. Transportation is provided at no extra cost to families. However, in light of the large number of children attending the program and the wide geographical area served, parents may be required to meet the bus at a central location close to their residence and that of other children to assure arrival at the Pingree Center in a timely fashion.
The philosophy of the autism program is based on achieving behavior change through the use of shaping and reinforcement. We work on teaching appropriate skills and behaviors to the child to replace any inappropriate behaviors. Teaching methods are based on the discrete trial format with programs taught using the Pingree Centerís "5-step" approach, which consists of prompting and fading techniques presented in a systematic approach. Programs are also taught using less structure as the child continues to learn and make progress. Data are recorded on a trial by trial basis and all behavioral data (attending, compliance, physical aggressions, etc.) is also recorded as it occurs. This assures that progress is documented, and that we can objectively track specific, measurable, and observable behaviors.
A total communication approach (saying and signing) is used with students. For nonverbal students signing provides a possible mode of communication, while for verbal students it provides a visual cue for learning. We have also found that some children increase their verbalizations after they have used sign language. If signing is not appropriate for your child, a leading program, picture book, or computer program may be used. Recently, additional TEAACH programs www.unc.edu/depts/teacch and PECS, (Picture Exchange Communication System), models have been implemented with some students www.pecs.com
When a child enters the Pingree Center, formal tests and assessments are completed for the child and continue to be updated throughout the year. These measurements help to diagnose and clarify the target areas. These assessments as well as observations are used to develop a Treatment Care Plan. A Treatment Care Plan consists of goals for the child which may include areas such as attending, compliance, specific behaviors, language, cognition, social skills, fine motor, gross motor, integration, self-help skills, and a parent training and contact goal. At the time when the Treatment Care Plan is developed, goals will be formulated with parents based on their ďlife goalĒ plan for their child. The programs provided at the Center help to reinforce this goal by offering appropriate objectives to support their vision for their child. When a child enters The Pingree Centerís preschool, the school district that the child resides in is notified if the parents sign a release of information. The school district representative is then contacted and asked to attend the Care Plan meeting, as well as all other meetings throughout the year. This is to inform the parent or caretaker of the services that the district could provide to the child and to provide an easier transition for the child when he or she enters the school district. The release of information form allows us to release any related information to the district representative, such as the Care Plan, testing, progress notes, etc. It is the right of the parent not to sign a release of information. However, the transfer of information to the receiving district often creates a smooth transition process.
Most students in the Autism Program begin with the Pingree Centerís core management programs, which include Attending, Following Directions, and Imitation. Language skills are targeted throughout the day in all situations at the Center. This may consist of gesturing, choosing, or signing for desired items, or of a therapist modeling an appropriate sentence for the child to repeat. Upon completion of the core programs, students then progress through formal cognition, social, language and academic programs according to their developmental level and need, as outlined in their formal assessments. Fine motor and social skills are programmed daily while gross motor and self-help skills are programmed as needed.
Each student's progress is monitored carefully. The therapist/teacher in the child's classroom compiles the data taken on the child and then writes weekly progress notes on the student's achievement toward Care Plan goals. Every six months a formal report is developed and written by the child's primary therapist, in which all of the child's data is compiled and conveyed. Parents are then contacted to formally discuss the child's progress and any recommendations by the therapist/teacher and parents suggegtions.
The Pingree Center has a history of successful intervention and commitment toward children with autism. We have been providing a unique service for the state of Utah, often filling a void in the lack of programming for children with autism. The program is a model service, and is highly regarded on local, state, national, and even international levels. The Pingree Center offers an intensive learning experience for the student with autism, based on years of experience and research and monitoring by staff whose expertise is in the syndrome of autism and related developmental delays.
Finally, we expect direct involvement of the family in the program. We can learn much from you about your child. Behaviors that you have seen countless times and problem solving methods you have used will provide us with your insight into your childís development.