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Arbor Academy

Arbor Academy Student

Arbor Academy is a public therapeutic day school that provides specialized instruction and services for Kindergarten- Jr. High aged students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), or students with similar learning profiles. A learner at Arbor Academy often presents with significant barriers in the areas of language development, communication, social interaction, and/or behavioral regulation. Our school community holds to the tenet that when given the necessary instruction, structures and supports, all individuals with ASD have the capacity to learn and develop skills that will allow them to engage in a productive and social adult life. In partnership with our families and districts, our goal is to assist in preparing our learners for that time in their lives.

Program Design

Arbor Academy’s program design is based on specific evidence-based practices that are necessary to achieve positive academic, communication, social, and behavioral outcomes for learners with ASD. Intensive, systematic and individualized instruction based on principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) is provided. The Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP) is used as a primary tool to assess, monitor progress, and develop programming for students. Specialized instruction is provided via a multidisciplinary team model in a nurturing and therapeutic environment. Related services are provided via an integrated service delivery model throughout the school day. Specific planning for generalization of skills is embedded into programming. The AFLS (Assessment of Functional Living Skills) is also used as a common assessment tool. The AFLS is used for teaching children, adolescents, and adults with developmental disabilities the essential skills they need in order to achieve the most independent outcomes.

Program Supports

  • Instructional coaching
  • BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analysis) Coaching
  • AAC Coaching
  • Community Based Instruction opportunities
  • Parent Engagement
    • Early Release- Family Goals 1X/month
    • New Parent Training
    • Parent Coffee Trainings
  • PAES Lab- early vocational assessment and instruction
  • Adaptive PE classes
  • Provide support during transition to less restrictive environment (student, receiving team, family)
  • Collaboration with NSA for access to gym- APE
  • Collaboration with NSA for peer mentors- peers support our classrooms
  • High degree of collaboration with private providers

Instructional Focus 

  • Verbal behavior approach is used in language and communication instruction
  • Systematic and intensive instruction 
  • Focus on language development and functional communication training
  • Pairing is a key foundation to building instructional control and engagement in learning
  • Use of specific reinforcement schedules
  • Use of individualized prompting and prompt fading techniques to ensure mastery and independence of skill acquisition
  • Engaging learning environments and use of motivation to promote positive behavior and academic growth
  • Use of behavioral momentum techniques
  • Specific instruction for generalization of skills across people, contexts, and environments
  • Replacement behavior instruction
  • Use of antecedent strategies to support positive behavior and regulation
  • Instruction of group learning skills to support transition to less restrictive environments

Who We Are

The staff at Arbor Academy are dedicated to promoting the highest outcomes for all learners.  Staff are specifically trained in the principles of ABA and intensive teaching methodologies.  The multidisciplinary team consists of special education teachers, teaching assistants, speech language pathologists, occupational therapist, physical therapist, adapted PE teacher, instructional coach, Board Certified Behavior Analysts, school nurse, and a transition specialist. Parent partnerships are key to the success of our program.

Contact Information


Kendra Wallace

Arbor Academy
754 Red Oak Lane
Highland Park, IL  60035
847-831-0603 x1100