While many schools that serve students with disabilities are designed with a “one size fits all” approach, at Colmena we support the principles and values of universal design in education (UDE). Colmena staff seek to make all aspects of the educational experience more inclusive for all students. Colmena’s approach to universal design for learning includes:
· Differentiated curriculum implementing the common core standards and alternative standards, adapted to the instructional level and learning style of each student, whether struggling to access foundational components or achieving years ahead of their grade level;
· Functional communication support including a language enriched educational environment where students are spoken to with respect and are taught to access alternative communication modalities to allow them to reciprocate language;
· Integrated and embedded sensory supports with instruction to teach students how to accept and provide sensory support necessary for them to have functional movement and a calm body in their everyday lives;
· Behavior intervention tailored to the needs of each student.
What sets Colmena apart? Our mission is to empower students with Autism to reach their potential with an individualized, interesting and inclusive educational experience including:
· A customized program tailored to each student’s ability and learning style
· General education curriculum and alternative curriculum including extension activities for gifted learners adapted for each student’s learning style and mode of communication
· Staff trained in alternative and augmentative communication modalities
· Assistive technology to extend instruction
· Inclusion field trips and experiences
· Language intervention both direct instruction and social thinking/pragmatics
· Embedded sensory supports and instruction in self-regulation techniques
· Guided meditation to help students learn to self-calm
· Spanish as a foreign language or dual immersion
Colmena is a 21st century skills program. We promote creativity, curiosity, imagination, innovation and personal expression to diverse learners in an accepting environment that strives to adapt the educational experience to each individual learner. We do not sacrifice literacy, scientific exploration, or mathematical, information and communication technology instruction to address the unique needs of children with Autism or other needs. Our integrated program meets each student’s needs at the level where they are ready to learn and provides them engaging and authentic learning experiences.