The Good Shepherd Catholic School at Mercy is a collaborative project developed with support from the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, Mercy Hospital and the University of Central Oklahoma funded in part by support from the Inasmuch Foundation. The school opened its doors in the Fall of 2011 for children with autistic spectrum disorders and other similar neurological disorders. In order to provide an integrated program, the school hopes to enroll approximately 20 children with autism and five children who do not have disabilities.
The Good Shepherd Catholic School at Mercy provides services for 3-9 year old children diagnosed with autistic spectrum and similar neurological disorders. Each child receives an evaluation upon being accepted at the school to determine the appropriate skills that need to be taught, thus the curriculum is individualized.
Because this is a Catholic school, religious prayer and religious instruction are part of each school day for all children.
Good Shepherd Catholic School at Mercy recognizes that children with autistic spectrum disorders often lose skills during lengthy breaks, so the school is open from late August through late July to help them maintain skills. Children attend school from 8:30-3:30 Monday through Friday; or if the child is 3 or 4 years old, parents may request a half-day program from either 8:30-11:30 a.m. or 12:30-3:30 pm.
Each student is assigned a behavioral interventionist who works with that child one-on-one at all times. A Board Certified Behavior Analyst supervises all programs. A highly qualified special education/early childhood teacher provides academic instruction for the children throughout the day based on individual needs that are addressed in that child's IEP.
Principles of applied behavior analysis are embedded throughout the day at the Good Shepherd Catholic School at Mercy. ABA is "a scientific approach for discovering environmental variables that reliably influence socially significant behavior and for developing a technology of behavior change that takes practical advantage of those discoveries," (Cooper, Heron, Heward, 2007, p.3). Each child's needs are addressed through social, behavioral, verbal, adaptive, academic, and play skills taught daily. Data is recorded each day based on skills in the child's individualized treatment plan following principles of ABA. Data is then graphed biweekly and shared with parents monthly.
Parents are required to participate at least two hours each month at the school to acquire and share techniques to use with their child. Monthly parent meetings are held in the evenings and parent trainings are an ongoing component of each child's program.
Samantha Garman-Assistant Clinical Director
13404 N. Meridian Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK 73120