Classrooms for Students with Autism

male student with autism working teacher at private special education school - Hawkswood School, Eatontown NJ

At Hawkswood School, we help children with autism spectrum disorders achieve authentic progress – the ability to learn and spontaneously apply functional skills across settings. We use an educational model that addresses not only behavior, but also the core challenges of autism and other developmental disabilities including communication, social skills, adaptability and decision-making.

Our educational program for students with autism — like all our educational programs — relies on a contemporary approach to Applied Behavioral Analysis. At Hawkswood School, teachers and therapists systematically analyze the student’s environment to identify those events that occur before (antecedents) and after (consequences) a skill or challenging behavior occur in order to design individual instructional plans.

To learn more about Contemporary ABA, visit this post on our blog.

The academic curriculum in each classroom at Hawkswood School is developmentally appropriate and fully-aligned with New Jersey’s Core Curriculum Content Standards and the Common Core. We design and implement classroom curricula to maximize the individual student’s language, social, emotional, cognitive, and physical potential in all aspects of daily life.


  • Antecedent-Based Interventions
  • Differential Reinforcement
  • Structured Teaching
  • Task Analysis, Chaining, Shaping, and Total Task Instruction
  • Extinction
  • Functional Behavior Assessment
  • Functional Communication Training
  • Naturalistic Intervention (Interaction techniques and behavioral strategies designed to encourage specific target behaviors based on the learner’s interests)
  • Prompting
  • Reinforcement Response Interruption/Redirection
  • Social Stories, Scripts, and Narratives
  • Augmentative Communication
  • Visual Supports


The principals of Applied Behavioral Analysis are based in decades of educational and psychological research. This body of research demonstrates that behaviorally based instruction is useful in teaching language, social, academic, self-care and vocational skills. In addition, through the implementation of functional behavioral assessments and the teaching of functionally equivalent replacement behaviors, applied behavioral interventions are also successful in decreasing challenging behaviors.


Instruction is based on each child’s strengths and needs, guided by research on the development of children with and without disabilities, and the principles of Applied Behavioral Analysis.

Family Centered

Families are collaborative partners in assessment and education. We value individual differences in the priorities and lifestyles of families.


Our professionals from different disciplines collaborate with each other and with families. Our comprehensive, integrated approach represents a new generation of education/treatment approaches.

Meaningful Outcomes

Progress is measured in functional activities recognizing the broader context of a child’s development. At Hawkswood, our goal is to create socially significant outcomes that enable our students to succeed in a variety of settings.

Custom Designed Sensory-Friendly Environment

Our sensory-friendly building is architecturally engineered specifically to support the unique instructional and environmental needs of students on the autism spectrum. Physical characteristics of lighting, acoustics, cooling and heating, and overall design were built to our specifications in order to foster learning and minimize sensory distractions.

Teaching Appropriate Student Behavior

At Hawkswood, our deep respect for students has lead to our consistent use of positive behavioral supports within a contemporary ABA model. When students have challenging behaviors that interfere with their life and learning, Hawkswood staff completes a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) — including a comprehensive environmental assessment — to help determine the function or purpose of the behavior from the student’s perspective. Our approach emphasizes teaching appropriate and pro-social replacement behaviors and skills. Click here to learn more about Hawkswood School’s beliefs about student behavior.

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