Acacia Academy Special Education Programs

Our Programs 


The curriculum is tailored to emphasize the student's individual academic, social, processing, and cognitive needs. Individual learning styles, academic levels and skills, processing abilities, cognitive profile, and experiential backgrounds are studied and considered in the development of the student’s program of instruction and support. Our approach is to present a personalized program for the student designed to meet their individual needs. Academic programs, learning styles, teaching approaches, counseling strategies and therapeutic services parallel the student’s profile. Social workers, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, and school psychologists provide related services for each student in need of their services.

Below you will find additional information for each specialized program.

Learning Disability Program

Through the collection of data and diagnosis, the learning disability(s) is identified. Specialized instructional techniques, programs and manipulatives are presented to the student. Hands-on learning, computer programs, field trips, and the use of visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and multisensory methods of instruction are implemented as needed.

Teachers work to remediate and further develop skills. Essential academic skills such as reading, writing, mathematics, and content subjects are taught utilizing students preferred learning style(s) and strengths while weaknesses are remediated. Weaknesses in the cognitive areas of long term retrieval, short term memory, working memory, processing speed, auditory processing, visual processing, comprehension and knowledge, fluid reasoning and quantitative abilities are remediated and strengthened through the use of specific strategies and techniques designed to minimize, if not eliminate, such weaknesses. Daily help is also available before and after school for students in need. Tests are administered with the necessary accommodations to accommodate learning differences.

Autism Spectrum Program 

Previous records involving evaluations from the public school, medical professionals, and Acacia Academy are used to develop a program personalized for the ASD/NVLD student. The student receives personalized instruction and materials to ensure maximum learning. Social work, occupational therapy, and/or speech/language support services that are identified as needed are available for each student. Academic instruction is presented and modified to meet each student’s personal needs. Individual and small group social skills lessons are part of the daily curriculum which improves social awareness and communication skills. Each student develops awareness of the existence of another student’s feelings. They learn how to seek comfort and calming techniques at times of distress and to socially interact and participate positively in activities with other children. Every social interaction is seen as an opportunity for learning, utilizing the student's strengths and modifying areas of difficulty. Students learn to correctly interpret their surroundings and environment as well as the oral and written language of others. (Click here for more information)

Transition Program

The goal of Acacia Academy’s Transition Program is to maximize the opportunity for independence by providing instruction in vocational training, independent living, related services, and academic skill development.  The program is individualized, based on a student’s needs and goals.  Upon completion of Acacia Academy’s Transition Program, individuals will successfully transition into a postsecondary educational/training program, full time employment or day program for further enrichment and education.

In addition, A Transition Plan is written for each student when they turn fourteen years old and continues through their educational career. Acacia Academy transition planning concentrates on exploring universities, community colleges, trade schools, job training programs, careers and full-time employment opportunities. (Click here for more information)

Speech and Language Program 

A speech & language evaluation by our speech and language pathologist is administered if a student with a specific language impairment is enrolled in our school and updated data is not available. The student is provided language therapy with the speech/language pathologist as needed. Recommendations for language remediation for an individual with a specific language impairment are developed. This information is shared with the classroom teachers and recommendations are made. Teachers are made aware of the linguistic and metalinguistic ability levels required for the student to benefit from the daily instruction. Our speech and language therapist is available for assistance with modifications in the classroom.

  • Assessment and intervention may focus on various disorders of speech and language such as:
  • Speech sound disorders (difficulty pronouncing sounds)
  • Language disorders (difficulty understanding what a student hears as well as expressing themselves)
  • Cognitive communication disorders (difficulty with thinking. skills including perception, memory, awareness, reasoning, judgment)
  • Stuttering (fluency) disorders (interruptions in the flow of speech that may include hesitations, repetitions, prolongations)
  • Voice disorders or the quality of voice that may include hoarseness, nasality or volume.

Receptive Language Instruction 

Students improve their ability to understand verbal and non-verbal cues such as body language and/or voice tonality. Students further develop their knowledge of labels for objects and classroom activities. Students learn through short, clear sentences and phrases and continual use of phrase. Concepts are introduced slowly with many practice examples and reinforcement activities. The same concepts and skills are taught in many situations so that skills will 'become generalized.

Expressive Language 

To further develop expressive language skills, students are encouraged to communicate with peers and adults. They are taught appropriate ways to verbally express need and frustrations. Additional time is allowed for students to respond to a question or a situation. Appropriate responses are encouraged and reinforced.  Students continually learn new vocabulary terms and phrases as well as synonyms and antonyms.

Social Work Counseling

At Acacia Academy, the school social worker plays a vital role working with school staff, students, families and community agencies in addressing the barriers that limit a student from receiving full benefits from their educational experience. Social work services are provided on a classroom, small group and individual basis. The goal of the social work program at Acacia Academy is to enhance the acquisition of social thinking and social skills. Individual sessions are tailored to the specific needs of the student. Small group sessions address areas such as anxiety, self-regulation, friendship building and problem solving.

Occupational Therapy

Our licensed occupational therapists work with students in a number of areas to promote functional independence in the classroom and school setting. The goal is to improve the student's ability to perform tasks requiring visual perceptual skills, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, sensory processing skills, organization, and self care. Our therapists aim to give students the tools they need to successfully participate in a school and community setting.

Cognitively Delayed Program 

A personalized program of instruction is developed to meet the individual needs of the student. Academic, intellectual, social, and emotional profiles are studied and needs are identified for this process.  Instruction begins at the level of mastery and works to continually further the development of each skill area.  Students are provided multiple hands-on activities, projects, and manipulatives to ensure understanding of each skill.   Teaching techniques and strategies are implemented utilizing the learning style of each student.

Traumatic Brain Injury Program 

Through evaluation of a current case study, medical records, and Acacia Academy assessments, a personalized program of instruction is written for the student with Traumatic Brain Injury. Every effort is made to provide a safe and comfortable environment. The academic instruction for reading, writing, and mathematics is presented on a personalized basis.   A cooperative learning model is utilized to present content area subjects.  Instructions as well as the instructional materials are selected to maximize learning. The Traumatic Brain Injury students receive support services that are identified as needed.

Other Health Impairments Program & Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD)

The records for the students with Other Health Impairments are reviewed, specialized instructional techniques and materials are utilized to instruct and support the student. Hands-on learning, computer programs, and the use of visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and multisensory methods of instruction are implemented as needed. For students with short attention spans, instruction and assignments are presented in smaller portions.  Instructions for focusing and attending are provided. Teachers are within close proximity of the students who may need gentle redirection and guidance.  Staff further develops skills that are needed for success. Essential academic skills such as reading, writing, mathematics, and content subjects are taught utilizing a student's preferred learning style(s) and strengths while weaknesses are eliminated or at least minimized.

Emotional Disorders Program 

An environment that is positive and supportive is presented to help the student feel comfortable, safe, and relaxed.  Praise and positive support is given to develop feelings of self-confidence. Social skill instruction is presented when needed and practiced amongst the students. Goal setting and self monitoring of behaviors, emotions, and feelings is encouraged. A social worker and psychologist are available for counseling at anytime during the school day.   Specialized instructional techniques, academic programs and manipulatives are presented to the student to further develop their academic skills.   Hands-on activities, academic programs, field trips and the use of visual, auditory, kinesthetic and multisensory methods of instruction are implemented as needed. Essential academic skills are also taught utilizing a student’s preferred learning style(s) and strengths while weaknesses are remediated. Thinking and reasoning skills are further developed as well as feelings of personal worth.

Below you will find a sample of strategies and techniques that Acacia Academy offers.

Modification of Physical Environment:

  1. Preferential seating
  2. Seating student near a positive role model
  3. Standing near the student when giving directions or presenting lessons
  4. Altering location of school supplies for easy access and lessen distractions
  5. Increasing the distance between the desks
  6. Letting the student select the place which is best to study
  7. Providing a quiet area in the classroom for short periods
  8. Posting and explaining rules and consequences for the classroom
  9. Freeing the student's space of unnecessary materials
  10. Use of a checklist to help the student get organized
  11. Providing opportunities for movement breaks
  12. Enforcing the fact that each day is a new day, a new page, and the past will not be rehashed
  13. Utilization of the Nature Center to further a “No Stress” environment
  14. Encouraging positive self talk
  15. Provide positive changes of classroom environment with frequent field trips and time in Nature Center

 Lesson Presentation

 Teachers will:

  1. Assess the student’s prerequisite skills
  2. Review key points orally
  3. Make sure directions are understood
  4. Teach through multisensory modalities
  5. Vary student responses by use of SMART board, art projects, verbal responses, use of manipulatives, projects, experiential learning, speech to print software
  6. Break longer presentations into shorter segments
  7. Organize materials: use timers, set time allotments, etc.
  8. Relate information to student's experiential base
  9. Provide the student with an overview of the lesson before beginning the lesson.
  10. Monitor the level of language to communicate ideas and ensure understanding
  11. Schedule frequent, short conferences with students to check for comprehension
  12. Provide consistent review of any lesson before introducing new information
  13. Allow students to obtain and retain information utilizing computers, oral reports, projects, dictation
  14. Recognize and give credit for oral participation in class
  15. Teach to a specific learning style(s)
  16. Make sure knowledge is tested and not attention span

Time Demands

Teachers will:

  1. Increase amount of time allowed to complete assignments
  2. Teach time management skills: use checklists, prioritizing time
  3. Pace short work periods with breaks or change of task
  4. Set up a specific routine
  5. Alternate quiet and active time


 Teachers will often:

  1. Address essential skills
  2. Teach the meaning of key vocabulary in the lesson
  3. Use of computer programs: Lexia, Earobics, SOLO, DragonSpeak, etc.
  4. Provide assignments and tests in segments
  5. Provide necessary assistive technology
  6. Provide study aids
  7. Highlight main ideas
  8. Provide use of manipulatives
  9. Encourage student to select the method of writing which is most comfortable: cursive or manuscript

 Assignments and Test Taking

 Teachers will often:

  1. Give only a few tasks at a time
  2. Provide a structured routine in written form
  3. Provide graphic organizers
  4. Allow open book and notes tests
  5. Giving tests orally
  6. Give frequent quizzes in place of longer exams