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PACES (Positive Attitude Concerning Education and Socialization) Program

The PACES Program is the response of the American School for the Deaf to the special needs of deaf and hard of hearing children and youth whose emotional or behavioral disorders prevent them from being served in more traditional programs. The first program of its kind, PACES continues to offer effective, comprehensive, individualized programming delivered by experienced, knowledgeable staff. The PACES Program is approved by the Connecticut State Department of Education, the New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Delaware and Rhode Island Departments of Education, as an approved Special Education School and licensed by the Department of Children and Families.

Effective, Appropriate Program Options

Since 1982, this unique residential treatment program has served emotionally and behaviorally disturbed deaf and hard-of-hearing children and adolescents with comprehensive psychological and educational programming. Located on the school's 52-acre campus, PACES serves students in two program age-groups. Students age 8 to 13 and 14 to 21 are placed in separate groups with their own classrooms, residential units and staff. PACES offers a five-day enrollment that permits students to go home each weekend, as well as a seven-day enrollment for students whose emotional/behavioral disorders require supervision 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

An Integrated Approach

PACES is designed to address all areas of a student's life. Our integrated approach reinforces the individualized program therapies and goals designed for each PACES student. Areas of focus include:

  • Behavior Management
  • Behavior Plan - Individual, structured behavior management programs, developed to meet each student's unique needs
  • Family Services - Inclusion into services offered by ASD's Family Education Services Department; collaborative with treatment planning meetings; on-campus family meetings to discuss family dynamics and behavior programming in the home; regular phone, videophone and e-mail contact with clinicians.
  • Transitional Services - Support for students returning to regular academic and vocational programming
  • Consultants - In psychiatry, occupational and physical therapy, and behavior management.
  • Supervision - In addition to high levels of adult supervision, all classrooms are monitored via close circuit TV. Recordings of classroom activities are used to teach appropriate behaviors.


  • Academic - Small, individualized classes
  • Transition Services- to include assistance with post secondary education or traning and/or referral to appropriate community providers who can address the student's unique needs.
  • Vocational - Pre-vocational and vocational training; assessment, job training, work experience and job placement services.
  • Counseling - Full-time, licensed counselors using a variety of effective counseling and therapeutic approaches
  • Support Services - Access to ASD's comprehensive services in the areas of speech and audiology, psychological testing and evaluation, medical and health-related services, interpreter services for deaf and Spanish-speaking parents.
  • Psychiatric Consultation

Extracurricular Activities

  • Sports
  • Student work program
  • Supervised community field trips
  • Peer mediation
  • Adaptive mini-courses
  • Life Skills program
  • Structured socialization
  • Gym/fitness program
  • Swimming
  • Tutoring
  • Cooking program
  • Religious activities

Student Life/Residential Life Experience

  • Residential counselors emphasize the development of independent living skills, problem solving skills, appropriate use of leisure time, and socially appropriate behaviors.
  • Collaboration between Dorm and Educational Programs allows teachers and counselors to closely follow student progress and provide a structured and consistent learning environment.
  • Students in the seven-day program participate in an activity-based, behaviorally managed weekend program staffed by residential counselors and a weekend administrator. The program focuses on life skills, effective use of leisure time, and communication development. Community events and services in the Hartford metropolitan area are utilized.

Family Education Program

In order to help the child develop and maintain positive relationships with family members, a family education program is an integral component of PACES.

  • Students are accompanied by staff members for periodic home visits.
  • Sign language classes, counseling, and family meetings are also arranged as needed.

Admission Considerations

Students served by the PACES Program have histories of repeated maladaptive behavior in school, home, and the community. Behaviors may include:

  • Axis I or II diagnosis of mental illness (DSM-IV-TR)
  • Pervasive Development Disorders
  • Resistance to authority
  • Verbal and/or physical aggression
  • Obsessive/Perseverative Behaviors
  • Language and Learning Disabilities

The PACES program is NOT, as a rule, appropriate for students demonstrating the following behaviors and/or needs:

  • Active risk of suicide
  • Active risk of serious violence to others
  • Primarily medical needs
  • Severe or profound retardation
  • Long-term custodial care needs
  • Need for full-time psychiatric care
  • Documented sexual offenders

For more information, contact:

Karen Wilson, LPC, NCC

Cindy A. Paluch
Director of Admissions/Family Education Services/Student Management
860.899.1603 (vp)

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