The STEPS Center was developed to meet the needs of children diagnosed on the autism spectrum and related developmental differences ages 2-21 in an inclusive and center based program. This allows for intensive instruction with the focus on improving skills such as communication and language, fine and gross motor skills, social, play, imitation and, small and large group responding while educating the individual in an enriching and positive environment. AT STEPS we utilize the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis; recognizing the importance of using research-based instructional methods, teaching skills that are meaningful and socially significant and analyzing data to guide clinical decisions.
At STEPS we view the children as individuals, and do not define them by their behaviors. We believe that what some may call "behaviors" are in fact, attempts to express communications. It is our responsibility to look further into these communications, while also teaching our students more appropriate ways of expression. We take a person centered approach and view each child as whole and unique. We believe that competence is not defined by the ability to verbally communicate. By presuming a persons intellect, we can assist him or her in reaching their maximum potential.
STEPS uses an interest-based curriculum in teaching the children that we service. Children on the autism spectrum typically have strong interests or passions in select areas. STEPS utilizes these interests in teaching and designs instruction to include the interest areas of the students. Growing research has provided a substantial list of the academic benefits of interest-based instruction. They include: (a) increases in the frequency and duration of on-task behaviors; (b) increases in children's motivation to engage in academic activities; and (c) greater attention to the completion of tasks. Research also suggests that such techniques may be beneficial in increasing the amount of time that children with ASD spend with their peers thereby increasing both academic and social engagement.