- How do you communicate with a child who cannot tell you his name?
- How do you keep his focus when he’d rather rock back and forth?
- How do you teach a teen to relate to his peers when he doesn’t understand the rules of friendship?
These are the challenges – the difficult questions – a group of parents of children with autism faced more than 40 years ago, just as parents do today. But there is one significant difference: with limited educational opportunities at the time, those parents had no where to turn but to themselves for the answer – the formation of one of the first schools for children with autism.
Founded in 1966, the League School of Greater Boston is a non-profit, private school with one overriding goal: to provide a nurturing educational environment where students with autism can build on their strengths. To achieve its far-reaching mission, the school takes a comprehensive developmental approach, encompassing every aspect of a student’s life: social, emotional, academic and behavioral. The League School is internationally known for its innovative, integrated and individualized programs for children and young adults aged 3 to 22 with autism spectrum disorder. Our approach is to carefully introduce new challenges. We believe that if students are given the right set of challenges and supportive strategies to overcome them, they will grow and achieve success.
Every day the League School challenges its students to learn new skills in a supportive environment. We teach not by rote but by mastering life skills so students can apply what they learn to new settings. A student who learns numbers can also pay for an ice cream cone, remember a birthday or find a favorite station on the radio. A student who learns how to have an appropriate conversation with a teacher can one day have a meaningful exchange with an employer or a friend.
The League School offers distinct programs, each designed to teach social, academic, behavioral and community-life skills based on a student’s age and ability. We take an integrated, team approach to education, giving our students the tools and strategies they need to experience their own thoughts, actions and emotions in context, which is the foundation for growth. To help individualize the student’s program, we utilize and integrate the following methods and strategies: ABA, Discrete Trial Training, SCERTS and Teacch.
For our students, personal growth can mean many things: making a new friend; passing the MCAS exam; feeling upset when someone is hurt; or ordering a meal at a restaurant. At the League School, it is our job – and our joy – to provide an environment at both our school and group residences where growth is always possible:
- We provide training in social pragmatics and communication skills to help our students interact effectively with their teachers and classmates so they are prepared for encounters throughout their daily lives.
- Through occupational therapy and behavioral support, we help our students learn to take control through sensory regulation and self-motivation.
- Our vocational program arranges for students to work and learn responsibility in local business settings.
- Our extracurricular activities, like the student council and specially-themed school days, help them learn to make decisions in a group.
As our students grow, they gain the skills and confidence to open new doors to greater independence – whether those doors lead them to public school, to college, to the workplace or to an apartment of their own.
We are proud to be a school where we can work with our students to meet their challenges, build on their strengths and help them to learn the skills they need to become happy, productive and self-reliant students and adults.