Students in the Fir Classroom are elementary school age (6–11), with moderate to intensive language and self-care needs. They learn most effectively in a pair, though some instruction is delivered 1:1. Students learn and apply skills in the context of meaningful events. A personalized communication system and language program is developed for each student at the beginning of the year, with the goal of increasing the student’s receptive and expressive language. The Fir staff work closely with Victory’s Behavioral and Speech Language Pathology Teams. When appropriate, the Victory Team will incorporate the use of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) systems to support a student’s language goals.
Fir students require more frequent praise, reinforcement, and repetition in order to remain motivated during work times. They are able to request and respond in 1–5 word phrases and can follow 1-2 step directions. Sensory engagement with teachers and peers is interspersed throughout the school day and customized programs are created for each child to teach academics and critical daily living skills (such as dressing and expanding eating repertoires).
Fir students participate in twice weekly Community Based Instruction (CBI) in order to generalize skills learned in the classroom. For example, while on CBI, Fir students practice reading signs in grocery stores, trying out new foods at restaurants, and following safety directions.