Emotional Support Program

emotional support for autistic children learning disabilitiesThe Pathway Emotional Support program

provides academic and social/emotional support for students who have demonstrated a consistent failure in adjusting to the regular school environment due to emotional and behavioral factors. Often students that require an emotional support program have behaviors that manifest themselves in the form of academic and behavioral deficits. Specialized techniques, based on the current research, in behavioral management, group dynamics, instruction and emotional development are used to increase the student's awareness of his or her skills, feelings, thoughts, and behavior so students can develop the independence and autonomy needed for successful integration into the regular school program and the community.


The Pathway Emotional Support program provides educational and other services (curricular adaptations and modifications, related services, adapted physical education and transition supports) for children ages 5- 12 classified under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) as emotionally disturbed.


The class size ranges from 6-8 students with 1 Lead Teacher who has a Master's degree or equivalency and who is also certified in Special Education along with having experience working with students that exhibit significantly challenging behaviors. Classroom staff also includes an Instructional Coordinator who will possess a bachelor's degree in education, psychology, counseling, social work, or other related human services field. The Instructional Coordinator also possesses experience working with students that display significantly challenging behaviors. The emotional support classroom is also supported by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Clinical Social Worker and/or School Psychologist. The interdisciplinary team meets weekly to evaluate the academic, behavioral, social, and emotional progress of students and makes program model and individual program adjustments as necessary.


Data is collected daily on academic, behavioral and social indicators for progress monitoring and decision making. Students in the Emotional Support classroom work on the goals and objectives that are outlined in the IEP (Individualized Education Plan), as well as Pennsylvania academic standards in Literacy (Reading and Writing), Math, Science and Social Studies. Students also work on learning replacement behaviors, coping skills, self-control strategies, and other interpersonal and social skills that will help them become successful in school and in the community.

learning disabilities - positive behavior supportKey Components of the Education Model:
  • Skill-based Curriculum

  • Evidence-based Teaching Strategies

  • Effective Motivation Systems

  • Systematic Supports

  • Definition: A willingness and ability to work with others.


learning disabilities - positive behavior supportTypes of Skills:

  • Academic/Active Learning Skills

  • Self-Control Skills

  • Social Skills

  • Types of Skills

  • Academic/Active Learning Skills

  • Self-Control Skills

  • Social Skills

Examples of Skill Sets Taught in the Emotional Support Classrooms :


Academic/Active Learning Skills Self-Control Skills Social Skills
  • Completing Assignments

  • Assignment Completion

  • Remaining On-Task

  • Asking Questions

  • Working Cooperatively

  • Asking for Help

  • Checking Your Work

  • Writing Neatly

  • Initiating a Task

  • Answering Questions

  • Asking for Feedback

  • Completing Accurate Work

  • Completing Homework

  • Ignore Negative Behavior

  • Controll Your Emotions

  • Self-Control

  • Use a Coping Strategy

  • Conflict Resolution (this has to stay as conflict resolution as this is a different conflict then resolving conflict)

  • Following Directions

  • Accepting Criticism

  • Accepting "No"

  • Greeting Others

  • Getting Teacher's Attention

  • Making a Request

  • Disagreeing Appropriately

learning disabilities - positive behavior supportCurriculum and Instruction:

Pathway integrates instructional and behavioral teaching methods from research based programs:

  1. Student Achievement Model (H.A.V.E.N. Academy, GA)
  2. Developmental Therapy/Developmental Teaching (University of Georgia)
  3. Boys Town Educational Model (Boys Town, NE)
  4. Teaching and Life Space Crisis Intervention (Nicholas Long, Ph.D.)

Academically, students receive individual assessment and educational planning in a structured environment. Staff provides direct instruction along with differentiated instruction so school becomes a place where students can achieve and experience success! Curriculum is driven by the student's Individualized Education Plan (IEP) while being aligned with the Pennsylvania state standards. Students receive instructional and emotional support based on their individual needs. A strong link between school and family is developed in order to enhance skill development and to strengthen generalization of skills across various settings.

Sample School Day:

Morning academic class


Morning academic class


Morning academic class




Afternoon academic class

Social Studies

Afternoon "special" class

P.E.; Art; Library; Group Therapy

Afternoon Reward/Resource Period

Opportunity to review day, utilize privilege

It is the policy of The Pathway School to provide equal opportunity in all terms, conditions, and privileges of employment for all qualified applicants and employees without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, age, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation or the presence of any disability.

discover the Pathway School Norristown, Pennsylvania special education for autism, dyslexia, learning disorders