Beacon Day School for Children with Autism and related Disorders was opened in 2004 in Orange, California to meet the special needs of children with autism in response to the requests of a group of parents who needed a school for their children where they could make the most of their potential. Beacon provides a supportive environment that enhances self-esteem, and our integrative educational model allows for consideration of critical issues that are essential for educational planning. These include the child's cognitive strengths and challenges, adaptive behavior, medical issues (including diagnosis and treatments), social skills, and coping strategies. This information is then filtered into the educational care and support that the student requires.
We work as a team at Beacon. Parents, children and teachers work as a triad to achieve our goals. We know that learning occurs at all times of day, so we work with parents to ensure that children receive consistency in reinforcements throughout the entire day. We rely on conferences, home visits and informal meetings to communicate with families. Regular reports about behavior and performance in the school are shared with parents, and in exchange, information about the student's behavior outside of school is often communicated to teachers. Structure and consistency in the home, at school and in the community help students to progress in all areas of development.
Beacon Day School's staff per classroom includes a teacher with a 'moderate -to-severe' credential as well as behavior interventionists. Furthermore, credentialed occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech and language therapists provide on-site services. Sessions with music therapists and an art teacher enhance the educational process and provide creative outlets for the students in order to generalize their academic experience. For example, an art project may include a math lesson, or music can incorporate reading and writing, or an exercise learned in physical therapy.
A FEATURE UNIQUE TO BEACON DAY SCHOOL. We recognize that our students often times have other health concerns and require care and support beyond the academics of the classroom or behavioral therapies. Beacon Day School founder, Dr. Mary Joann Lang, is also a nurse practitioner and has included licensed vocational nurses (LVN) as an integral part of the school staff. This unique feature of on-staff healthcare professionals allows us to provide quality nursing care for students with concerns such as seizures, asthma, gastrointestinal problems and other concerns. We want parents to feel secure, each day, that their student can be cared for promptly and competently when such needs present themselves.