Ready, Set, Connect Elementary Autism Program

The Ready, Set, Connect Elementary Autism Program services school-aged students in grades K-2 who have been diagnosed along the autism spectrum. Its mission is to increase the social, emotional, academic and communication skills of students with autism to maximize independence in a school environment.

This program was created during the 2003-2004 school year through a city-county cooperative agreement. Zanesville City Schools and all of the local school districts within Muskingum and Morgan Counties have joined to fund a classroom teacher and four behavior technicians.

Located at John McIntire Elementary School, Ready, Set, Connect serves students in kindergarten through second grade.

The teacher and four behavior technicians have been trained to provide specifically designed, individualized programming to meet the needs of each student. This varies from one-to-one verbal behavior instruction with frequent reinforcers to traditional classroom instruction for group activities. A strong component to address social skills is included through direct instruction and organized group activities. Two special education coordinators oversee the general operations of the classroom while two school psychologists provide supervision of behavior technicians and direct consultative services.

The Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills - Revised (ABLLS-R) - is used in conjunction with the Ohio Learning Standards to gather baseline data for each student. From this data, individualized curriculum goals and objectives have been developed and will be monitored for progress during each grading period.

Based on individual needs, students are provided with the services of occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech and language therapy. Transportation is also available from each home school district.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the focus of the elementary autism program?

The development of communication skills is the focus of our approach. Students are taught a dedicated curriculum that targets skills important for students with autism to exhibit, as well as Ohio academic content standards. As part of our program, we also focus on appropriate behavior and the development of independent routines for a classroom setting. These efforts are designed to give students a better opportunity to integrate into regular school placements in the future. read more

What advantages are there for placing several students with autism together in one classroom?

Students with autism need an intensive level of intervention for a majority of the school day in order to make progress. In addition, since very specialized training is required to implement the academic and behavioral requirements of such a program for autism, it is often not possible to replicate such a level of support for one or two students in a regular school placement. Using this model, our experienced staff is prepared for most circumstances that arise. read more

What are the criteria for being in the elementary autism program?

While the main criterion for entering the elementary autism program is that the student has a diagnosis of Autism, a team of professionals will make the final determination of appropriateness for our classroom. Students with severe cognitive deficits may be better served in a multiple disabilities classroom. read more