Expressions Day School: Boys’ Autism Program —

Onarga Academy's Expressions Day School offers a highly structured educational and therapeutic environment designed for high school students, with the following diagnoses:
Higher functioning individuals diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum, or with a diagnosed learning specific communication disorder.
Sensory Integration Disorder
Pervasive Developmental Disorder/Not Otherwise Specified (PDD/NOS)
Other health/mental impairments
Emotional disabilities

Specific learning disabilities

The program curriculum is aligned with the Illinois State Learning Standards and individualized to each student's needs. Expressions offers a full day of challenging classes that includes Math, English/Language Arts, Art Therapy, Physical Education, Social Studies, and Science. In addition, services are provided in Speech/Language, as well as opportunities to work with a school clinical therapist and occupational therapist.

The Expressions classroom is designed in a sensory-appropriate manner for students on the Autism Spectrum, including special lighting and sensory learning stations placed around the room. The curriculum includes sensory integration wherever possible, while incorporating technology, creating multiple situations for students to participate in hands-on learning.

The SCERTS Training Model, supplemented with the TEACCH Program, is used to address students' specific educational needs. These programs are integrated into the daily curriculum to ensure that each student learns the educational material required for his/her grade level, as well as the social, emotional, and behavioral management skills to be successful in individual and community relationships. Student achievement level is tested upon arrival, and testing is repeated each year a student remains in the program. Progress is monitored through formal reports and IEP meetings.

These highly structured classes are held on Onarga Academy’s Grand Prairie School campus and feature a self-contained classroom, bridging opportunities, small class sizes (limit of 6 students), teach and assistant teacher. The key focus of these unique classes is to improve the communication and interpersonal skills as age appropriate, including understanding personal behavior and sensory system issues, while improving academic skills.


Program: Expressions Day School

Youth Served: Students in grades 1-8

  • Students with related diagnosis: higher functioning on the Autism Spectrum, Learning-Specific Communication Disorder, Sensory Integration Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder/Not Otherwise Specified (PDD/NOS)

Program Model/Services

  • Staff with over 20 years of experience working with youth who struggle with social, emotional, and communication disabilities.
  • Focus on family (including siblings) education/support/interaction.
  • Integrates technology into daily classroom activities through use of the SMART Board.
  • Emphasis on building practical communication and social skills to facilitate a smooth transition back into mainstream classes.
  • Providing the unique learning environment of a private school.

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