COACHing for Success

The Chimes School’s Specialty Program for Students With Autism

If you’ve ever had a great coach in your life — in a sport, at your job, or even in your community — you know that everyone can use one. A good coach motivates and inspires, supports and advises, guides and leads.

That’s exactly what The Chimes School seeks to do through our COACH program, which we’d like to highlight in honor of Autism Awareness Month.

An acronym for Chimes Opportunities for Autistic CHildren, the program serves students with significant needs related to their disability — most commonly autism—and communication deficits that may lead to behavioral challenges or sensory difficulties.

COACH prides itself on small class sizes and high staff-to-student ratios, which allow more time for one-on-one work on daily living, functional life skills, functional academics, social skills, vocational skills/preparation, community-based instruction, and leisure skills. Because these students need more intensive intervention and often an alternative means of communication, the program is highly individualized to meet each student where they are.

Teachers and staff in COACH classrooms receive additional training on Applied Behavior Analysis and Verbal Behavioral principles, enabling them to tailor instruction to the ways children with autism learn. Each student’s dedicated team — special educator, speech/language pathologist, occupational therapist, and physical therapist — help them become more comfortable, confident and functional in their school, work and home environments.

To address the “age-out” crisis with which families of people with autism are faced, COACH includes services to transition students to more integrated settings; or adult day programs once the student turns 21. Additional services such as nursing, counseling, social work, and in-home behavioral consultation provide families with a holistic, person-centered care and support experience.

Simply put, we believe that ANY student can learn and grow to his or her fullest potential — just like any great coach does. And we’re grateful for friends like you, whose support makes COACH and all our other vital programming possible.

On behalf of all of us at Chimes who serve individuals with autism, thank you for recognizing the importance of focusing on what people can do — not just during the month of April but all year round.

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