• In Conejo Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) we provide a full continuum of special education services and placements for students who are eligible for special education services with an Individual Education Plan (IEP).

    A Specialized Program, also known as a Self-Contained Class, is one component of the continuum. CVUSD offers Autism Specialized Programs for students with a disability that presents with difficulties in (one, some and/or all) social/pragmatic language, communication, academic achievement, behavior, sensory, restricted interests and resistance to change that interferes with their ability to access their education. Autism Specialized Programs serve students in Preschool through 8th grade, and up through age 22 for students working towards a certificate of completion.

    Placement into one of our Autism Specialized Programs is discussed during an IEP meeting and is an IEP team decision. Our Be Me Preschool programs on University campus and Sycamore Canyon campus support preschool students ages 3 to 5 years old, Ladera STARS Academy, Banyan Elementary school, and Maple Elementary School support students in grades Transitional Kindergarten (TK) through 5th grade and Sequoia Middle School supports students in grades 6 through 8. Each high school has a specialized learning essential academic program (LEAP) to support students requiring a specialized program; the high schools do not provide a separate Autism program. Conejo Oaks Academy supports students who are working towards a certificate of completion up through age 22.

    To sufficiently support our students in the Autism Specialized Programs, we maintain a low teacher to student ratio and staff each class with paraeducators per each classroom need, who, under the direct supervision of the classroom teacher, assist students. Additionally, our related service providers (e.g. School Psychologists, Speech Language Pathologists, Board Certified Behavior Analysts, Occupational Therapists, and Adapted Physical Education Specialists) work closely with the special education teacher and paraeducators to provide modeling and consultation to implement strategies that specifically address each students’ needs in the Specialized Program setting.

    CVUSD’s Autism Specialized Programs use curriculum aligned with common core standards and provide accommodations and/or modifications based upon the needs of each student as indicated in their IEP. The Autism Specialized Programs provide specialized academic instruction using highly structured, visual, and language supports integrated throughout the instructional day. The classroom teacher and paraeducators are always working to maximize the student’s access and opportunities in a general education setting. The Autism Specialized Program staff utilizes strategies to support students’ progress in their academics, language, sensory, fine/gross motor, social communication, and behavioral skills such as, but not limited to:

    • Modeling
    • Visual supports
    • Social Skills Training
    • Social stories
    • Communication picture boards/devices
    • Coping skills
    • Movement/vestibular input
    • Tactile input
    • Positive Behavior Supports
    • High reinforcement frequency
    • Frequent repetition
    • Self-management
    • Functional Communication strategies
    • Naturalistic Teaching
    • Prompting
    • Peer Supports
    • Activities for hand strength/fine motor coordination
    • Bilateral integration (e.g. in-hand manipulation, tripod pinch/pencil grip, scissor skills, implementation of equipment adaptations, eye-hand coordination)




  • The overall goals of our Autism Specialized Programs are to:

    1. Provide supportive and positive learning environments for students; and
    2. Provide specialized academic instruction through evidence-based practices to support students’ unique and individual needs in the areas of academic, language, sensory, behavior and social communication.

    This document serves as a summary. For more information about our Autism Specialized Programs, please contact:
    Ms. Dawn Thomas, Director of Special Education, Secondary or Dr. Erin Roderick, Director of Special Education, Preschool/Elementary at 805-497-9511