The PACES Program
Positive Attitudes Concerning Education and Socialization
The PACES Program at the American School for the Deaf addresses the unique needs of deaf and hard of hearing children and youth, whose emotional or behavioral challenges prevent them from being served in more traditional settings. Established in 1982, and the first program of its kind in the United States, PACES offers effective, comprehensive, individualized programming, delivered by experienced, knowledgeable staff. The PACES program is recognized by the CT State Department of Education, State Education Resource Center, as a PBIS Model Demonstration program. The application of a PBIS framework to residential treatment has resulted in a dramatic reduction in physical restraints and seclusions, and the infusion of PBIS strategies into a residential setting, is progressive and unique. Located on the school's expansive campus, PACES serves students between the ages of 6 and 22.The PACES Program is approved as a special education provider by the Connecticut State Department of Education, the New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Tennessee, Delaware and Rhode Island Departments of Education, and is licensed by the CT Department of Children and Families.
A Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)Strengths-based Approach
- Therapeutic Services
- Family Support and Services
- Transition Services
- Additional Service Opportunities
Clinical services are provided by qualified mental health Clinicians, Social Workers, Psychologists, and a Child Psychiatrist, using a variety of strengths-based, PBIS supported, evidence-based interventions. Every student’s individualized treatment approach focuses on the Antecedents, Behaviors and Consequences which contribute to their emotional and behavioral challenges. When appropriate, Psychiatric services include treatment, medication monitoring, family collaboration and consultation.
- PACES has an integrated model, which reinforces positive, individualized interventions, that are a part of each student's Individual Treatment Plan, and include:
- An Individual Treatment/Behavior Intervention Plan
- Individual, structured, positive behavioral interventions, developed to meet each student's unique needs
- 12-week collaborative treatment planning meetings
- Therapeutic interventions such as the Expressive Therapies, including Art and Music, mindfulness activities such as groups to assist with the development of coping skills, pet therapy and yoga
PACES students and their families benefit from:
- Inclusion into programs offered by ASD's Family Education Services Department, such as Family Fun Saturdays, Family Learning Weekend, Family and Sibling Sign Language Classes, and other linguistically, and culturally accessible, family-focused opportunities;
- On-campus family meetings and therapeutic resources to address family dynamics and provide and share ideas related to behavioral assistance in the home;
- Regular phone, videophone and e-mail contact with Clinicians, Educators, Related Services providers, Residential Administrators, and Nursing staff.
Assistance with transition planning to include the referral, and/or connection, to programs which will enhance the student’s community integration opportunities after program completion.
In addition, PACES students receive services from the Transition Hub (T-Hub). The T-Hub provides a variety of services from a total immersion program including functional academics, self-advocacy training and work experience opportunities, to support services including transition assessments, on and off-campus employment experiences, and inclusion in self-advocacy and self-determination activities.
If included in a student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP), Psychological and Educational testing and evaluation, medical and health related services (provided in a state-of-the-art Student Health Center), Occupational and Physical Therapy consultation and treatment, Audiology, Speech and Communication services, and Cochlear Implant, hearing aid, and assistive technology support services are available.
PACES provides a high staff to student ratio, and all school-day areas are monitored by digital, closed circuit TV. Staff are certified in Physical/Psychological Management Training (PMT), and reinforced to use non-physical de-escalation techniques, and positive interventions within the PBIS framework.
A PACES Education
The Paces academic program is provided by CT State certified teachers, who are trained in Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS), and Physical/Psychological Management Training (PMT).Small class size allows for individualized and differentiated instruction, which follows the curriculum framework of the State of CT. In addition, students experience a number of vocational-educational opportunities that include hands-on, academically supported, transition-focused, real world vocational and technical experiences. Experiential vocational classes include Culinary Arts, Woodworking, Robotics, Auto Body and Detailing, and Media. In addition, other class offerings include subjects such as Chemistry, Biology, Algebra, Geometry, Civics, and Standardized Test Preparation.
PACES Is Broadening Services to include
Hearing Non-Verbal Students on the Autism Spectrum
In recognition of the specific needs of students on the Autism Spectrum, the American School for the Deaf (ASD) is expanding its services to enhance the learning and communication potential for this unique population.
- Continuing a premier program for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students on the autism spectrum
- A comprehensive, strength-based approach to the education and social development of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
- A bilingual (English and American Sign Language) model to enhance and expand upon the acquisition of effective communication skills for deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing non-verbal children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Educational and environmental supports, and social skills development using the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) framework
- Intensive support provided by staff with expertise in Educational, Behavioral, Clinical, Occupational, and Communication specialties.
- A sensory supported learning and social skills environment
- Staff experienced in modalities consistent with populations who benefit from non-verbal communication methods
- Serves students between the ages of 3 and 21
- 215 educational day program
The PACES Residential settings are infused with Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). Students are reinforced and supported by Residential Counselors who positively emphasize the development of independent living and problem-solving skills, leisure time, and socially appropriate behaviors. Collaboration between the residential and educational milieus allows Teachers, Residential staff, and the Clinical Team to monitor and assess student challenges and progress, through the analysis of data collected in all school and residential settings. When appropriate, students are integrated into community-based learning and entertainment opportunities, and athletic events, both locally and out of State.
PACES students have the opportunity to participate in a number of Athletic and Extracurricular Activities including Basketball, Softball, Soccer, Volleyball, Track and Field, Cheerleading, and swimming. In addition, Student Club opportunities include the Martin Luther King Club, Drama Club, Girl Scouts, Jr. CT Association of the Deaf (CAD) membership, a Dance Club, and the French Exchange Club.
The ASD FES program provides multiple opportunities for families to engage in their child’s life. Family Fun Saturdays, Family and Sibling sign language classes, Family Learning Weekend, and assistance to families with on-campus housing, whenever possible, for special events and visits to their child.
Children and Youth referred to the PACES Residential Treatment Program have histories of emotional and behavioral challenges in school, home and community settings. PACES serves students with:
- A Category in the DSM V that includes the diagnosis of Mental Illness
- Pervasive Developmental Disorders
- Reactive Attachment Disorder
- Oppositional Defiant and Conduct Disorders
- Obsessive and Perseverative Disorders
- Intellectual Disabilities with behavioral features
- Anxiety Disorders
Children demonstrating an active risk of suicide, a significant risk of harm to themselves or others, a documented history of sexual offenses or fire setting, or, those in need of full-time psychiatric care, are generally not considered for admission to PACES.
Karen V. Wilson, MA, LPC, NCC
Director of the PACES Residential Treatment Program;
Coordinator, Psychological, Counseling and Evaluation Services