Secondary Autistic Support

Silhouette of couple dancing.
  • Bloomsburg Middle/High School

    IU16 - Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit
    Bloomsburg Area SD
    1100 Railroad Street
    Bloomsburg, PA 17815

  • Success Story Contact

    Emily Remphrey
    Phone: 570-809-4450
    School Website:

  • BSE/PaTTAN’s Role in Success:

    PaTTAN provided the Coach and CLM Training.

A functional curriculum was needed for lower-functioning learners with Autism at the secondary level.

The Secondary Autism Support program classroom began implementing the Competent Learner Model (CLM) in the fall of 2008. At the time there were seven students in the class, ranging in age from 11-17. All of the students in the classroom were on the lower-functioning end of the Autism spectrum and had intensive behavioral, communication, and academic challenges. Through the dedication of the program staff, the support from the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit (CSIU), and the training and support from the PaTTAN coach, they worked diligently to implement the CLM over a course of two years. The students’ inappropriate and aggressive behaviors significantly decreased, they learned to communicate their wants and needs as well as new and higher levels of functional academic skills. By incorporating the CLM methodologies into the daily living skill activities, the students learned to complete tasks such as folding towels, washing dishes, and setting the table. According to the teacher, one of the most exciting moments occurred when a parent reported that their child was now doing these “chores” at home and was able to contribute to and be more a part of their family unit.

One of the greatest success stories with these students was in relation to a yearly special needs dance event. Each year, the students were invited to attend a community special needs event. Many secondary classes in the area attended the event that was sponsored by a local class. Prior to implementing the CLM, it was very difficult for the students to participate in the event due to their severe behavioral issues and lack of communication. The year before beginning the CLM, the students were only able to stay at the dance for 30 minutes with very intensive support and they did not participate in dancing, socializing, or games with any other students. After implementing CLM for nearly two years, they were invited to attend the dance again. This time the students were able to dance with peers, participate in games and activities, and communicate with others using various communication methods. The students needed very minimal support during the event and were able to stay for the entire four-hour period. In fact, they were the last class to leave because the students were having so much fun! The Competent Learner Model truly helped the Bloomsburg students become participators in life.Congratulations to the Bloomsburg Secondary Autism Support program on their great achievements!