Boulder Valley School District


Approach to Programming for Students with Autism

In Boulder Valley School District, programs designed to meet the educational needs of children with autism provide a structured teaching approach to learning.

As with any student qualifying for special education services, the Individual Education Plan (IEP) will direct the program. Long term goals for our students with autism include the development of functional skills, communication and independence. Special attention is paid to skills in the following domains: communication, social, academic, daily living, independence, sensory motor, and vocational. 

Services are provided in a continuum of environments ranging from self-contained to full inclusion settings, based upon the needs of each student. Intensive early intervention is a priority. Programming for preschool age children reflects the research regarding the need for intensity at this age. School staff and parents combine efforts to deliver increased hours of service consistent with recommended practices.
Continued staff development is necessary to provide staff with the skills needed to provide quality programming for children with autism. BVSD will continue to examine all in-service opportunities that focus on autism and keep staff trained in methodologies and/or strategies found successful for children with autism.
Intensive Learning Center for Students with Autism (“Autism ILC”) Program Description
Students referred to Autism ILCs typically have a medical diagnosis or educational identification of Autism and require intensive curricular and/or behavioral modifications that cannot be met by resource support alone.  Students may require a variety of instructional approaches and accommodations, including (but not limited to) discrete trial, incidental teaching, use of social stories, and sensory strategies. Students may require significant modifications to the general curriculum. Teachers in Autism ILCs have expertise in working with students on the autism spectrum.  Additional speech-language and occupational therapy time is allocated to support these students. Each program is supported by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).
The BCBA provides specialized expertise to define and characterize behaviors, measure and assess behaviors, select and evaluate interventions and strategies, display and interpret behavioral data and monitor behavior change.  The Behavior Analyst is responsible for the implementation of skill acquisition and behavior support strategies aligned with current best practices from the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) as well as responsibilities and duties within the school special education collaborative team.  A BCBA is assigned to each district Intensive Learning Center Autism classroom to provide program support, integrated professional development and participate in development of functional behavior analysis and related behavior support plans. There are also BCBA positions assigned to provide support to schools that have students with autism who are not receiving special education services in a district autism classroom.

Here is a video describing an AIM Elementary Program

New Student Enrollment Guidelines

Elementary / Secondary
    * Parent registers child at BVSD Admissions.
    * Parent contacts home school.
    * School principal notifies special services staff who schedules an IEP meeting.
    * An IEP meeting held at home school with other district staff in attendance as determined.
    * Information is gathered about child's needs in these areas: Social, Academies, Sensory motor, Cognitive,  
       Behavior, Health, Self Care Areas. Any further assessments needed are scheduled or requested from
    * Placement is finalized and discussed with parents through the IEP process. A start date is agreed upon.
    * As needed, transportation department is notified of recommended start date. Parent is notified of pick-
       up/drop-off times, if applicable.
Early Childhood
    * Parent contacts CHILD FIND at 720-561-5078
    * CHILD FIND staff will gather information and work with the parents to develop an appropriate placement

Autism Assessment Team

The Boulder Valley School District Autism Assessment Team is a group of professionals, employed by the school district, who have special training and expertise in assessments and interests for children with autism. The team provides consultations in best practices for the evaluation of students suspected of having autism spectrum disorder and will provide direct evaluation when needed to support the school-based team evaluation process.
Members of the Autism Assessment Team:
Jennifer Bossman
Special Education Director, Northwest Network

Jennifer Leonesio
Occupational Therapist

Dawn Collamer
Special Education Teacher, BCBA

Kelly Miller
Social Worker, BCBA

Francine Alberts
Speech/Language Pathologist



National Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Department of Justice

 Autism Society of America

Local Autism Society of America - Colorado Chapter

Autism Society of Boulder County

Association for Community Living in Boulder County
Affiliated with The Arc of Colorado and The Arc of the United States
Phone: 303.527.0888

Colorado Department of Education
Office of Special Education 
1560 Broadway, Suite 1100
Denver, CO 80202

Autism Internet Modules 

Findings and Conclusions: National Standards Project, Phase 2 - Addressing the need for evidence-based practice guidelines for Autism Spectrum Disorder