CASP Philosophy

At CASP we believe that all people with different abilities can contribute as participating members of their homes and communities. Our teaching method, the Functional-Natural Curriculum, is designed to teach the students the behaviors they will need to work in regular workplaces and be independent in their daily living and is based on the following 10 fundamental beliefs:

1. People with different abilities can learn if taught with the correct individualized procedures.

We believe that all people can learn. We don’t assume that people who have difficulty communicating don’t understand and thus cannot learn.

There is not a single educational approach that successfully helps all students learn. Our job as parents and professionals is to work together find the most effective procedures for teaching each student, and then apply those procedures to help them become independent in life.

2. All people want to be independent, productive and happy, and should be provided the education and opportunities to achieve their goals.

  • Independence is being able to function effectively in all environments.
  • Productivity means actively participating and contributing in daily living.
  • We have found that those students who become independent and productive are more likely to be happy in their lives.

We believe that students should have opportunities to use newly learned skills immediately in their daily environments so the skills become useful and thus strengthened.

3. All people should be included at home, school, community and the work place.

We believe in inclusion for life, which assumes that society must provide opportunities for people with different abilities to participate in activities in the home, school, community and workplace.

If students are effectively taught they can learn the skills that allow them to become valuable members of their community and thus be able to help themselves and their families.

We have also found that included students motivate all those around them, just by showing what they are capable of doing.

4. All people should be treated as we ourselves want to be treated… with kindness and respect.

We believe that no one wants be treated as if they are less valuable than anybody else and that treating everyone with kindness and respect increases our motivation to be better people. This is the "golden rule" which has been referenced as early as 2040 BC (Ethic of reciprocity).

Applied in educational programs, this means that teachers and parents should respect students, treat them with kindness and find interesting and functional ways to teach them new knowledge.

5. Families can be the most effective teachers of their children if they are taught the proper skills.

We believe that parent and family participation in the education of students is essential, and thus parents must be taught the same procedures that the student's teachers use so the education can continue at home. This assures that the skills the students learn will generalize to all their environments.

Parent participation is especially important since parents spend more time with their children than anyone else and are their best models to imitate. We have found that following through at home on what is learned in educational environments increases the impact of the educational process and of the student's success in life.

6. Professionals should work as partners with families in the education of their children, each one learning from the other.

We believe that teamwork between parents and professionals is a key factor in the success of students. Parents must be considered equal members of the educational team along with professionals since both have much to contribute regarding the student’s progress and the approaches that are most effective for each individual student. We have found that teachers become better teachers when they learn from parents, and parents become better parents when they learn from teachers.

7. Teachers should first be friends of their students.

We believe that if a teacher is first and foremost a student's friend, then the procedures used by the teacher become more effective and their praise of a student's work becomes more valuable to the student. Why? Because we all try harder in front of our friends.

8. Focus on what students can do and not on what they cannot do.

We believe that teachers should determine what students can do best and then teach what they need to know to be independent in life using many of their already achieved skills. This way, they will enjoy the learning process much more and their motivation is increased. They will also receive more natural rewards for their appropriate behaviors and thus inappropriate behaviors will decrease.

9. Student's environments should be filled with supportive people who believe in their success.

We believe that everyone in a student’s environments must be supportive and help them do their best since this has a direct impact on a student's self esteem. We have found that if parents, family members, teachers and friends truly believe that the student with different abilities can be successful, they will be successful.

10. Teaching and learning is a process that should be continued throughout life.

We believe that learning never stops and that everyone continues to learn new things and adjust their behaviors as they mature. For people with different abilities this usually includes how to handle social situations, money, love, etc. For this reason we believe that education throughout life is essential to the student and the family as they encounter new and many times difficult situations along the way.

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