School Program

Sunrise School offers comprehensive special education day school programs for students, ages 5-22, with moderate global delays associated with autism and other developmental disabilities. The primary goal is to enable each student to realize his/her fullest potential and to become as independent as possible.

With a multidisciplinary team of professionals, Sunrise provides a wide range of learning opportunities that foster growth in all essential areas. This integrated educational and therapeutic program promotes communicative, behavioral, academic, motor, adaptive, independent living skills and social and emotional development.

The curriculum is highly individualized, hands on, and designed to address the specific needs of each student. Class sizes are small with high teacher to student ratio. The program is based on the current research and best practices in the field. Teaching strategies and reinforcement methodologies are reviewed on an ongoing basis to maximize each student’s success.

One of the core components of the program is independent and semi-independent living skills training. Students are prepared to develop the communicative, daily living and job readiness skills required to function as independently as possible. These skills are taught in the school setting and through community-based instruction.

For nearly 30 years, Sunrise has been dedicated to helping its students overcome the challenges they confront in their lives and to make significant strides toward productive and rewarding futures. Students develop their self-esteem and a sense of achievement as they master each new skill. In this structured, individualized, nurturing environment, students experience school as positive and fulfilling.

The curriculum includes the following:

  • Individualized instruction in small classes with high staff to student ratio
  • Applied Behavior Analysis and Discrete Trial Training
  • Behavior intervention development and implementation
  • Functional life skills curriculum including domestic, recreation/leisure, vocational and community domains
  • Academic skills development including Teaching and Educating Autistic and Communicatively Handicapped Children (TEACCH)
  • Communicative skills development including speech and language therapy, Picture Exchange
  • Communication System (PECS) and total communication programs
  • Pre-vocational and vocational (job) training, both on and off campus
  • Occupational therapy
  • Fully equipped room for sensory integration therapy
  • State of the art computer facilities
  • Art and music programs
  • Adaptive Physical Education
  • Parent support and education groups
  • Mental health and counseling services


The fundamental premise of Sunrise School is that every child can achieve his/her highest potential. Sunrise School offers an education that teaches life-long independent skills in the areas of domestic, vocational, community and recreation/leisure skills. The school serves students ages five through twenty-one years. While all of the Sunrise students have developmental disabilities, some also have behavioral challenges, which are addressed through the principles of positive behavior intervention. The school’s collaborative team of professionals teaches social and language skills throughout the curriculum. All students participate in the school-wide Vocational and Community-Based Instructional (CBI) programs.

Every child can become a responsible and productive member of his/her community. The comprehensive Vocational Program provides Sunrise students with a smooth transition into the adult working world. Students begin their vocational training in the early grades, and as young adults, they may become independent workers in real job sites. The students operate their own Sunrise Store. They also prepare and sell food items to the staff and other students, perform office work, postal service, and custodial jobs throughout the school. Sunrise students learn to work independently, follow directions and use appropriate social skills with a sense of responsibility, respect and a strong work ethic.

All Sunrise students participate in the Community-Based Instruction (CBI) program where they learn real-life skills in their natural environments including riding a bus, purchasing food in a restaurant and shopping in stores. In multiple environments, students practice their social and communication skills, their money handling ability, and their independence.

Specialized classes in the autistic spectrum are designed for non-verbal or limited language students Through the use of the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and alternate augmentative communication systems, students develop the ability to express their wants and needs. Additionally, classes target students’ multiple sensory needs through Occupational Therapy (OT), Speech and Language Therapy and Adaptive Physical Education (APE). A variety of methods of instruction is used to maximize individual strengths including Applied Behavior Analysis, Sensory Integration, Discrete Trial Teaching, PECS, and TEACH.

The Curriculum in Sunrise School teaches functional life skills in the areas of Reading, Language Arts, Math, Health, Social Studies and Science.

Formalized behavior support is provided for individual students, classrooms and the entire school. At the individual level, the behavior management includes the use of positive reinforcement systems and behavior intervention plans designed by trained professionals.

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