Many know Maria Montessori as an innovator in education, but what is less-known is that she developed her pioneering teaching style only after teaching children with various disabilities. This is one of the reasons why the Montessori approach to teaching is so useful for children of all abilities. Mindful and Modern ABA Therapies was born after witnessing many of our Maria Montessori students with ASD flourishing under the Montessori method. The recognition of the connection to therapy and learning often goes unaddressed in traditional therapy, and our special needs Montessori attempts to close that gap.
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What is a special needs Montessori?
At Mindful and Modern ABA Therapies, we use traditional applied behavior therapies for children with ASD in a Montessori environment. What that means is that special needs children are given individual attention from a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) in a safe, calm group environment. The physical Montessori environment includes natural lighting, consistency, and a structured environment where freedom of movement is allowed– all conditions that benefit children with special needs.
Why is a special needs Montessori setting ideal for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder?
While the symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) manifest in different ways for different children, all children on the spectrum share a few common characteristics. Communication difficulties, issues with socialization, lack of physical coordination, hyper-sensory sensitivity, and the need for ritual can all make educational and therapeutic settings challenging.
The Montessori Method is particularly helpful to children with ASD because of the interactive, calming, sensory, safe, and consistent environment it provides. Montessori teaching is centered on the idea that all children learn differently and at their own individual pace. The structure and organization of Montessori classrooms allow children develop the generalized skills that help them to become independent.
What to expect from Mindful and Modern Therapies special needs Montessori
At Mindful and Modern ABA Therapies, we provide a special needs Montessori environment that welcomes children of all abilities with a sense of kindness and acceptance. Because children learn and grow at their own pace, there is no pressure to “catch up” or fear of “falling behind. All therapy is advanced by the child’s prompting, which builds responsibility and independence.
Our environment is carefully designed for order and organization and our days are scheduled so that there is consistency and routine. Children are allowed to learn new concepts by observing other children performing tasks and exercises, and are at their liberty to participate when and if they desire to do so. Practical activities will help your child to practice various tasks that improve motor skills and coordination until they are confident enough to do them easily.
How does a special needs Montessori operate differently from a normal Montessori?
Typically, a Montessori school is divided by age brackets and children are with the same teacher for 3 years. Our special needs Montessori uses this system, but our facility is also bisected into an ABA therapy facility and a Montessori facility separated by a door. Special needs children are paired with a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) who is with them at all times, observing their behaviors and implementing a unique therapy plan created by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). While special needs children are able to interact with typical developing peers, they are always able to return to the less overwhelming environment of the therapy center with their RBT.
How is autism behavioral therapy used in a special needs Montessori?
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy is an excellent fit with Montessori. Special needs children are observed daily in a classroom setting where their skills are observed and noted by their RBT. The group setting provides an opportunity for socialization, while the ability to retreat to a more private setting helps children with ASD feel safe and comfortable.
Unlike a traditional therapeutic setting where children are instructed to perform tasks and do activities, in a special needs Montessori the child initiates activities. Autistic children prefer not to do activities that are forced upon them, so this style of learning and doing is easier and more productive for them. As they initiate and complete tasks, they are learning as well as fostering inner motivation and independence.
Get started with ABA therapy for your special needs child
The first step towards enrolling your child in a program is to take a tour of the Mindful and Modern ABA Therapies facility to see if it is a good fit for your family. If you believe that our staff and program is right for your child, then you must schedule an assessment with us to get a clinical diagnosis for your child. During the assessment, a BCBA will spend 15-30 minutes working with and observing your child in order to determine whether they have ASD. Once your child has been diagnosed, the process of being approved by your insurance company begins, and once you are approved, you may enroll your child in therapy. Once your child is enrolled, the BCBA will create a treatment plan specific to your child, and they will be paired with an RBT
Frequently asked questions about ABA therapy for special needs and Autism
ABA therapy works on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis. That means we provide therapy one-on-one, with a strong, ongoing emphasis on “pairing” the child with one dedicated therapist so that they develop a secure, long term relationship. We use ABA therapy methods are data-driven, meaning that they are highly individualized to fit with the needs of each child on a case-by-case basis.
A Registered Behavior Technician (RBT®) is a paraprofessional certification in behavior analysis. All of our RBTs have undergone 40 hours of training, taken and passed an exam, and must renew their certification annually.
Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBA®) possess an undergraduate-level certification in behavior analysis. BCaBAs are required to complete continuing education and apply for recertification every two years.
Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA®) possess a graduate-level certification in behavior analysis. BCBAs are also required to complete continuing education and apply for recertification every two years.
There is no prescribed duration of time for a child to receive ABA therapy. While we love watching your kids learn and grow, we understand that the ultimate goal of therapy is to prepare children for moving on to school successfully. Most children spend 2-3 years with an ABA therapist.
MMAT is for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) whose families want them in an environment that cultivates social skills, language development, and increased independence. Because we are a sister institution to Maria Montessori International, we are able to provide one-on-one therapy for children right alongside their typical developing peers. This allows your child to interact socially in a typical setting, make friends, and build a solid foundation for success when they transition to school.
Many people know Maria Montessori as a pioneer in the education field, but her revolutionary education style began after working with children who had various disabilities. The Montessori focus on personalization in education coupled with natural approaches lends itself to teaching children of all abilities. Mindful and Modern Therapies was inspired by seeing many of our students with ASD flourishing in Montessori education. By bridging the gap we saw in connecting traditional therapy to learning, we found an effective way to treat students with ASD in a natural environment.
We believe Montessori brings purpose to therapy.
A natural environment includes objects such as real dishes that children learn how to use, clean, and put away. These small but important details prepare your child for functioning in the world. A garden area allows children to learn about nature and how they fit into the picture, as well as helping a child to see beyond their immediate surroundings. A natural environment for your child helps them to learn the skills they need to become life-long learners. This follows the principles of Montessori education, and encourages your child to develop their whole self – physically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually.
Yes! We believe children of all abilities can learn together and from one another. We create an environment where everyone can learn at their own pace, and benefit from their peers, regardless of ability.
Our Full Day program is from 8:30 to 3:30, while our half-day programs are either 8:30 am – 12:30 pm or 1:30 am-5:30 pm.
Our lunch is from 11:30 am – 12:30 pm.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to ABA therapy, as each child is different. We approach every child on a case-by-case basis and make recommendations accordingly. Some of our children attend a half-day session in combination with a half-day at school.
We take the following insurances for any of our therapeutic services:
- Indiana Medicaid
- Medicaid Managed Care
- Anthem Medicaid
- CareSource Medicaid
Our therapy is currently covered by the following insurers:
- Indiana Medicaid
- Medicaid Managed Care
- Anthem Medicaid
- CareSource Medicaid
While we currently do not offer speech therapy for children with ASD, we are looking into adding it as a service in the near future. Stay tuned and do not hesitate to inquire with us about it.
The Mindful and Modern therapies we use are suitable for children from as young as birth to as old as 9 years old.