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ASD Center Program

program overview

In Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) center programs, we prioritize building students’ independence while utilizing smaller student to teacher ratios in an inclusive educational environment. Students who come to ASD center programs demonstrate significant deficits in functional communication, social skills and/or restrictive interests/repetitive behaviors that are impacting their access to general education and are unable to get their needs met within the neighborhood school.

Placement into an ASD center program is through the determination of the IEP team. The district determines the location of the placement with consideration of parent input. Students are not required to have an Autism medical diagnosis or Autism Educational Identification to be placed into ASD center program.

program focus

ASD programs are focused on peer modeling, teaching and reinforcing social behavior and joint attention through integration into the general education classroom. These skills include:

  • Functional Communication: Students learn to communicate their wants and needs verbally or with augmentative communication.

  • Social Pragmatics: Students learn how to interact with one another, initiate and engage in collaborative conversations.

  • Executive Functioning: Students learn strategies to manage and organize their materials and environment.

  • Following classroom routines/instructions: Students learn expected classroom behaviors and complete school work.

Grade-Level Standards of Instruction

Students receive instruction driven by grade-level standards. Services to students within the ASD center program are offered in a continuum of environments ranging from full access to the general education classroom to a self-contained class as indicated by the IEP. Priority is placed on inclusive instruction being meaningful and purposeful.

Social/Emotional Supports

In partnership with building-wide behavior systems, research-based social/emotional interventions and supports such as modeling, visual supports, scripting, social skills training, and social narratives are available. Direct instruction is provided throughout multiple environments as indicated in the IEP.

Behavioral Analysis

Intensive early intervention is a priority. Pro-social and behavioral deficits are addressed through IEP goals or Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) that is based on a current Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA). Functionally equivalent behaviors are taught and reinforced through educational environment. Through Jeffco Private Provider Policy outside providers are able to observe the student and collaboratively problem-solve strategies to meet student’s needs with the school team.


visual schedules

The use of environmental supports such as visuals are highlighted. Through these supports students are taught to predict events and activities, anticipate change, understand expectations conceptualize the components of the school day, and transition to new events, activities, and environments in a calm and safe manner.

functional communication

Each student has a meaningful communication system that is efficient, effective, functional and understandable across a variety of people and environments.

social skills instruction

With respect to social relationships, curriculum emphasizes the development of social interaction skills with adults and peers for a range of occasions and environments.

ASD: Social Communication
  • Each student has a meaningful communication system that is efficient, effective, functional, understandable across a variety of people and environments.
  • Educational team members present directions to students in a consistent modality matched to the student's age, modality, and language ability.
  • Educational opportunities are embedded throughout the student's day to increase his/her receptive vocabulary and are evidenced by the student making meaningful choices in a variety of environments.


  • Instruction in replacement behaviors, self-monitoring and cognitive-based methods (e.g., social narratives, cognitive behavior management, self-advocating) is routinely incorporated into behavior support plans and lesson plans.
  • Social and Emotional instruction is direct and explicit, addressing the skill deficits and strengths of students.
  • Reinforcement is based on positive supports and strategies that are determined by the individual students’ needs and preferences.

Jeffco Public Schools ASD Programs utilize Colorado Department of Education’s ASD


Adult Support

Each program is staffed with:

  • Learning Specialist (Special Education Teacher)
  • Mental Health Provider (MHP) (Psychologist or Social Worker)
  • Paraeducator Support

Adult-to-student ratio is 1:2.

Partnerships with general education teachers are vital to the success of each student academically and socially. General education teachers provide inclusive classrooms and build relationships with each student to support their transition in and out of the classroom.

Exit Criteria

The IEP team considers data to decide when a student is ready to exit the ASD center program. To make this decision, the IEP team reviews data regarding the student's ability to:

  • Maintain independent integration in the general education setting (with appropriate supports as identified on the IEP)
  • Consistently demonstrates coping skills, self-regulation skills and safe behaviors
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