**Blog post by BACA Sprouts Teachers Nicole Hayhurst and Gracie Marchino
The Behavior Analysis Center for Autism offers a very unique program at our Zionsville and Fishers locations. The BACA Sprouts program is currently in its third year of implementation. We strive to continue and grow each year. Our program incorporates BACA clients that have a diagnosis of Autism and typically developing peers. Each BACA client that participates in our program is actively involved in teacher directed lessons and activities, but still has an individual therapist there who focuses on specific goals and caters to their personal needs. Incorporating typically developing peers in our preschool setting gives our BACA clients the opportunity to observe and learn from an age appropriate model. For learning to occur, it’s important for the Sprouts teacher and therapists to set up situations for our clients with their peers. This could be during social play activities, academic work or a group lesson to help develop the skills needed to target.
A large goal for our BACA clients is to prepare them for their transition into a mainstream school system. Throughout a typical Sprouts day, we utilize a variety of academic lessons including Saxon Math, Language for Learning, 100 Easy Lessons, Reading Mastery, Great Leaps and Social Skills. We also target weekly themes in which children learn a variety of subject related words and participate in various center activities, focusing on academic subjects. To expand the knowledge of our clients, we plan opportunities for children to experience learning opportunities in the natural environment by taking field trips that relate to specific themes.
Ultimately the goal for those involved in the Sprouts program is “Teaching Children How to Learn” in and out of the classroom — for all students with or without a diagnosis.