Crystal Academy Middle School to serve students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Crystal Academy has introduced its middle school program to the Miami-Dade Community for the 2015-16 school year, serving students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other developmental disabilities from 10 to 14 years of age.

“Our uniqueness comes through in an academic curriculum that adheres to Common Core Florida Standards in conjunction with behavior development, daily living skills, community based instruction, speech and language, music and art,” said David Pike, Crystal Academy founder and president.

“This program fills a tremendous void in our community, as there are limited high quality educational programs for middle school students with autism,” said Michael Alessandri, PhD, executive director, Center for Autism and Related Disabilities – UMCARD and assistant chair, University of Miami Department of Psychology.

The middle school program will contain a maximum of six students per classroom led by a Special Education Teacher accompanied by an RBT (Registered Behavior Technician) teacher’s aide, maintaining at least a 1 to 3 teacher-student ratio at all times. In addition, the program is developed and closely supervised by a highly experienced ASD Educational Consultant. Parent involvement is instrumental for this program, as it will be developing the student’s individual plans in part, based on each family’s personal lifestyles. The school-home collaboration will facilitate the development of a program like no other. Crystal Academy accepts the McKay and PLSA Step Up scholarship support for families.

In the Middle School, Crystal Academy will continue its mission of building on each student’s unique abilities, while meeting their needs and challenges through an evidence- based curriculum designed uniquely and specifically for each child. Services include Common Core Florida Standard academics, behavior development, daily living skills training, speech and language, community exposure, music, art, and inclusion and socialization with peers, all executed to optimize measurable results. For students requiring additional support it offers a wide variety of direct therapy services including behavior, speech and language, occupational and physical therapies as well as ancillary services like neuro-development, auditory processing and gymnastics.

Research shows that generalization and teaching lessons in a natural setting is optimal for a student’s long-term success. Crystal Academy is located just north of downtown Coral Gables, at 107 Antilla Ave., in an idyllic secure setting for the school and excellent location for the Middle School Community Based Instruction program.

Unique to Crystal Academy is the belief that an individual with ASD can be an active participant in society with independent living and social skills regardless of academic acumen however, it will not be the same for an individual with strong academics and no independent living and social skills.

The Academy opened its doors in June 2009, specializing in developing the behavioral and life skills of children with autism and related disorders; from diagnosis up to seven years of age with colorful and specially designed rooms for skill development, speech, occupational, and music therapies and computer lab.

Contact Katherine (Kat) Cao at 305- 567-5881 to arrange a walk-through of the facility and a chance to get answer to any questions you may have. For more information, visit online at

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