The Eden School
The Eden School provides year-round educational services for children and adolescents with autism, ages 3-21. With a commitment to excellence in autism education, we have more than 40 years of clinical experience and success in educating individuals with autism. Eden is a NJ state licensed, approved private school for children with disabilities.
Every student at Eden has an Individualized Education Program (IEP), unique to his or her specific needs and abilities based on annual assessments. Our student-teacher ratio ranges from 1:1 to 3:1, based on student need. Classroom instruction is provided in the same student-teacher ratios, along with small groups to facilitate peer interaction.
Eden’s classrooms are staffed by one or more certified special education teachers, teaching assistants and ancillary staff, dependent upon the number of students in the classroom. Ancillary staff includes certified speech pathologists, adaptive physical education teachers, a certified counselor and school nurses.
Students progress through the Eden School according to age and skill level. At the start of the school year, each student’s Individualized Educational Program (IEP) is reviewed and revised, in cooperation with parents and sending school district child study teams, to incorporate specific and individual program goals for the year ahead.
The Preschool and Early Childhood Program focuses on basic self-care and learning readiness skills, as well as language development and pre-academics, with the ultimate goal of building a strong learning foundation preparing the child for all later skill development.
Middle Childhood and intermediate
The Middle Childhood and Intermediate Programs continues with individualized instruction and builds on the child’s learning foundation, expanding their learning into pre-vocational skills and activities of daily living (ADL).
The Transition Program is for students who have demonstrated an ability to work in a small group setting. In Transition, independent work is supplemented by small group instruction in areas of academic and interactive language social skills.
The High School Classrooms focus on skills needed upon graduation. Students participate in both in-house and community-based employment, while still expanding on daily living and communication skills when in the classroom.
Transition to Employment
Intended to supplement the High School classrooms, is Eden’s Transition to Employment Program. Job coaches support students in community-based employment opportunities, along with working on in house placements, including cooking programs, the Eden Express store and mail courier services.
As part of our Community Involvement Program, students in all programs participate in frequent community experiences. Tailored to age level, these provide real-life opportunities to practice, develop and generalize social and behavioral skills.
Student outings range from shopping trips to purchase classroom items, grocery shopping, ordering meals in a restaurant or movie trips. The focus of all community outings is for students to practice the skills acquired within their classrooms into a variety of community settings.
Our students also participate in community activities that combine learning and giving. Collecting canned goods for a holiday food drive, gathering Toys for Tots and making Valentines for patients at a nearby medical center are among the ways Eden students learn to contribute to their communities.
The following supplemental services are provided to Eden students in conjunction with their classroom programs:
Speech and Language
The Speech and Language Program helps students develop individualized, pragmatic communication skills through the use of verbal language, sign language, simultaneous communication (pairing verbal and sign language) or augmentative communication systems. The latter include picture exchange communication systems, language boards or computerized voice output systems. Students receive speech services both through individual pull out and in-class sessions, along with language groups and community outings.
Adaptive Physical Education
All students receive Adaptive Physical Education on a daily basis. During group sessions, the students work on gross motor activities, range of motion and pre-sports skills. Older students are able to utilize a weight room where they can build up their cardiovascular fitness skills and other gross motor activities. Younger students receive individual PE sessions, where they work on a variety of fine motor tasks along with sensorimotor and vestibular processing skills. All Adapted Physical Education activities are IEP goals within each student’s program.
The Extended Day Program provides an extension of the school day through all community-based activities. This program provides an opportunity for students to further generalize their communication, social and behavior skills through recreational and educational activities in the community. Activities are driven by IEP goals.
Extended School Year Programs
Eden believes that it is essential for students with autism to continue their curriculum and skill development year-round. To this end, Eden offers two components of the extended school day programming.
The Extended School Year Program is a seven-week session during which students continue to address the goals specified in their IEP. All services remain the same, with students continuing to receive speech and language, along with adaptive physical education. There are also additional opportunities for the students to participate in swimming lessons, along with other summertime community and recreational activities.
Summer Residential Program
Eden’s Summer Residential Program offers students a multi-week experience. During their time at the program, students focus on maintaining their IEP goals, while also pursuing such activities as swimming, hiking, nature walks and community outings. Students are supervised at all times by certified special education teachers and camp counselors; lifeguards and registered nurses are also on duty.
(Eden’s Summer Residential Program is housed at Cross Roads Camp & Retreat Center but is in no other way affiliated with the Episcopal Diocese of Newark or New Jersey Synod of the Evangelical Luthern Church which own and operate the facility.)
Eden offers a range of services to assist and support families with loved ones with autism:
PARENT AND FAMILY SUPPORT
Eden offers a Parent and Family Support Program designed to educate and assist families through parent training, home visits and support groups. Initial training for new families provides an overview of Eden’s programs, and provides strategies for communication and dealing with behavior in the home. Training will coincide with monthly home visits, where parents select goals and the home consultant works with the family to help achieve them. The intent of the family support program is to empower the family and provide the training for the skills needed to work with their child at home.
Lectures and workshops on a variety of topics pick up where training leaves off, addressing issues of particular interest and significance to families of children with autism.
For home support, experienced Eden staff are assigned to families as consultants, meeting monthly or as needed in the home to establish effective routines and work on specific, mutually agreed-upon goals. School visits for parents, siblings and members of the child’s extended family are scheduled throughout the year, and parent and sibling support groups are also offered.
Intended as a “break” for families, the Respite Program sends a trained Eden therapist into the home for a specified number of hours each month. Respite gives parents time to run errands, schedule appointments and focus on their other children or, perhaps, simply the chance for a night out. As part of the Respite Program, individual goals are established to guide each family in learning to live effectively with a child who has autism. Respite services are not covered by students’ tuition and require funding that parents/guardians access through the State.
Emergency Family Support
An Emergency Family Support Program is similar to respite, but provided on a short-term, immediate need basis. Essentially “crisis respite,” this program steps in to provide the necessary care for an Eden student when his or her parents face a family emergency.