EDITOR’S NOTE: We’ve been featuring local private & independent schools through our School Spotlight series for over a year now, but have recently started a new special Preschool Edition! We hope to expand this series to include more state-licensed preschools in Huntsville and Madison County, and are excited to grow our education coverage to include more options for local students & their parents.
Find out more about The Riley Center’s educational program via our Q&A with Susannah Torres, a Day School Behavior Consultant & Case Manager at The Riley Center.
Learn More About The Riley Center
Ages of Students: Our Day School Program works with students from ages 6 – 19. We also house an early intervention outpatient services program that provides research proven treatment and intervention services to children ages 2 – 6; and, an Early Education Program for children ages 4-6 that is housed in Asbury Methodist Church in Madison.
Religious Affiliation: none
Teacher/Student Ratio: This varies dependent on the needs of the children in each classroom. We have the capability to provide for 1:1 all-day or half-day, and the highest ratio that any classroom has is 1:6. This is largely possible due to our use of certified behavior consultants (Board Certified Behavior Analysts and Board Certified associate Behavior Analysts and behavioral technicians) in every classroom working as a team with every teacher.
Please describe your school mission:
The Riley Center seeks to provide comprehensive services using a multidisciplinary approach to fulfill the urgent need for earlier diagnosis and treatment for children and their families faced with autism. Our staff implements the most current research-proven treatments and educational practices in a caring and supportive environment.
The Riley Center feels a strong sense of responsibility and commitment to our community to assist in a broader understanding of autism spectrum disorders and the importance of community involvement in the future success of our children as they mature into adulthood.
What is your school’s predominant educational philosophy?
Our educational philosophy at the Riley Center Day School focuses on individualized education with extended standards and behavior modification based on positive reinforcement with a core foundation in the principles of Applied Behavioral Analysis.
What sets your school apart from other area programs?
The Riley Center Day School is the only school in the Huntsville City and the surrounding area that offers comprehensive services to include a day school program exclusively for students on the Autism Spectrum. We use a multidisciplinary approach that utilizes the principles of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) to implement individualized educational programs, functional skills training, job training, social skills acquisition as well as addressing maladaptive behavior reduction while increasing pro-social behaviors.
Additional services offered through our contracted providers with in the Day School program are speech therapy and occupational therapy. These services are worked into the children’s school day so that when they leave our campus for the day no one has to worry about making it to those appointments as additional stressors.
As a center we also offer community and in-home consultation, training and therapy, our outpatient early intervention clinic, and our early education program.
What extracurricular opportunities exist for your students?
Some programs with in the Day School include: Community outings that include development and generalization of functional and adaptive skills, community interaction, independent living skills and job training.
The Riley Center After School Enrichment Program (ASEP) caters to two age groups in two different locations and focuses on social skills and group processing, in addition to giving extra behavioral supports and individualized skill acquisition dependent on each child’s needs.
Our Summer Enrichment Programs\\ address development and maintenance of academic skills as well as incorporating community outings for acquisition and generalization of both independent living and social skills. These programs, particularly for the younger groups, will have a common theme that projects and special events revolve around while still providing time each day to develop and/or maintain academic skills.
The Riley Center Day School also offers tutoring programs for students who may need more intensive help with their academic work. These services are available during the school year and the summer months.
What advice do you have for parents looking for a school for their child(ren)?
When you are looking for a school, especially for your special needs child, it is extremely important to look for a program that addresses your child comprehensively. If you are looking for a program for your student on the Autism Spectrum – bring it! We are always excited to see new faces and help them learn about the benefits of our program for students on the Autism Spectrum!
Describe your admissions process:
The first step toward admission to The Riley Center Day School program is to contact our Director of Education, Dr. Cummings. She will set up an intake meeting that will be both informational and contain an assessment.
At that meeting the parent(s)/guardian(s)s and student will meet with Dr. Cummings and the consultant to obtain developmental and educational history, learn more about services offered and how the student’s individual needs can be met. The student will also meet briefly with one of our Day School Consultants for skill and placement assessments.
After these first two steps are completed, Dr. Cummings will make program recommendations, review tuition/fees with parents/guardians and consult with our insurance administrator to determine eligibility for insurance coverage. The parent/guardian will complete the application process and return required documents to the Day School Director. Dr. Cummings and the parent/guardian will determine an appropriate start date and provide guidance for transitioning the student into our program.
Finally the student will be welcomed to The Riley Center with warm smiles and open hearts.
As a 501(C)3 non-profit organization The Riley Center wants to do all we can to ensure that no child is left un-served due to cost. As a result we do extensive fundraising and are able to provide services at 50% cost. We work with various insurance providers as well with the hope that we can provide services for as many children on the Autism Spectrum as possible.
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