Autism Expansion

Students with autism benefit from a specialized therapeutic learning environment where their unique sensory needs can be met holistically. Research has shown that the use of sign language can help non-verbal children on the autism spectrum (even those without hearing loss) learn to communicate effectively, reducing frustration and improving behavior. In 2016, ASD expanded our program to provide critical educational supports for deaf, hard of hearing and hearing non-verbal students on the autism spectrum.

Our Unique Approach

ASD provides a comprehensive, therapeutic, strength-based approach to support the social-emotional development of children with autism. We provide all students with the tools they need to meet their unique potential.
At ASD, you will find:
  • A visual-bilingual model (American Sign Language and English) to best support the acquisition of language and communication skills
  • Speech and language therapy, audiology services, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and behavioral and clinical supports
  • A culturally, linguistically, and sensory friendly learning environment with a multi-modal communication approach
  • State-of-the-art visual/technology-based supports aligned for students with non-verbal communication needs
  • A proven Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) reinforcement framework
  • Interventions and supports best aligned for students requiring non-verbal communication modalities
  • Functional life skills curriculum designed for future success and independence
  • A sensory supported learning and social skills environment
  • Expressive art therapy, music therapy and pet therapy programs
  • Work and leisure experiences in the community designed to help students build relationship skills

The ASD Experience

photo of a sensory room at the school
At the American School for the Deaf, we develop the whole child - intellectually, emotionally, physically and socially. We foster a language-rich communication environment that maximizes each student's potential. For our students with unique communication and sensory needs, we provide therapeutic supports customized to their individual learning styles.

In 2018, ASD designed a specialized sensory room to help our students calm their bodies and prepare to learn. Our sensory room is a therapeutic space furnished with specialized equipment to help students gain perceptual awareness and improve interactions with their peers. Within this space, students have access to a platform swing to improve balance, punching bags and trampolines to help them expend excess energy and build focus, and a multi-sensory room to invite calm and build sensory awareness. Students using ASD's sensory room are accompanied by certified staff at all times who guide them through therapeutic exercises while ensuring proper use of the equipment.
    • Autism Sensory Room Swing
    • Autism Sensory Room Equipment
    • Autism Sensory Room Equipment

Looking to Enroll your Child?

Who is this for?

Deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing non-verbal children with autism spectrum disorder who benefit from the use of visual communication methods and sign language in a therapeutic learning environment.



Language and Communication
Bilingual (American Sign Language and English)
Average Class Size

Schedule/Boarding Options
  • Commuter day
  • 5-day residential
  • 7-day residential
Program Highlights
  • A visual language and communication model to support diverse communication needs and preferences.
  • State-of-the-art visual and hearing-assistive technology.
  • Positive reinforcement environment utilizing the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) framework.
  • Sensory-supported learning and social skills environment.
  • Specialized multi-sensory room and sensory gym available for students to calm themselves and regain focus with the guidance of certified occupational therapists.
  • Specialized multi-sensory room and sensory gym available for students to calm themselves and regain focus with the guidance of certified Occupational Therapists.
  • School counselors on-staff who are experts in trauma-informed care, including yoga, mindfulness and meditation therapy.
  • Expressive art therapy, music therapy and pet therapy programs.

The American School for the Deaf serves deaf and hard of hearing individuals from birth through adulthood with a variety of programs and services.