Local Preschool Specializes in Early Intervention and Inclusion

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Pria offers individualized curricula to meet the needs of students with autism and developmental delays

Reducing those stimuli helps students allow their body and mind to focus on learning and take in the appropriate information.

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Pria, the first preschool of its kind in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, combines both applied behavior analysis (ABA) and inclusion to enable students with developmental delays, ages two to seven years old, to generalize their skills in a natural setting. The school opened nearly a year ago in September 2009 under the leadership of Director Sonali Ratnayake, M.Ed.

Yearlong one-on-one instruction is provided to students with autism diagnoses, pervasive developmental disorders, speech and language delays, sensory integration processing disorders and other developmental issues within a private school setting. In addition to individualized intensive ABA and successful inclusion, instructors use positive reinforcement to help children close the gap between their developmental and chronological ages.

"We put a great deal of focus on yoga and sensory integration, increasing the upper body toning to help reduce the need for self-stimulatory behaviors," said Director Ratnayake. "Reducing those stimuli helps students allow their body and mind to focus on learning and take in the appropriate information."

Instructors maximize student success by breaking down concepts to teach skills that are developmentally, educationally and socially appropriate, while incorporating several domains of learning including: cognition, speech and language, socialization, play skills, fine and gross motor, occupational therapy and self-help skills.

"Everything learned here is transitioned to a real-life setting," noted Ratnayake. She stated that classrooms are set up like a traditional preschool with play areas in the center of the room, and workspaces offered along the perimeter to prevent distractions.

When developmentally appropriate, each student is enrolled at the sister preschool located downstairs (or on the premises), the Rabbi Joseph Weinberg Early Childhood Center. There they join their peers in an inclusive classroom with the aid of a "shadow" instructor in order to promote generalization, the acquisition of skills and social interactions.

Ratnayake has worked for more than 15 years with children with developmental delays and supervised home-based ABA programs for more than 12 years. She is certified in applied behavior analysis and special education for children, ages birth through 21, with an emphasis on early childhood and severe disabilities.

Parents, who are interested in learning more about the program, should contact Director Ratnayake at (240) 644-8456 or e-mail her at sonali(at)priaschool(dot)org. More information can also be found on pria's website at http://www.priaschool.org.

Press Contact:
Jabeen A. Obaray
(240)281-3929
administrator(at)priaschool(dot)org

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Jabeen A. Obaray
Pria, Inc.
(240) 281-3929
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