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Program Overview

ABA- Based Education

Chrysalis Academy uses research-based programming with teaching practices guided by the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and language development including, discrete trial teaching (DTT), natural environment teaching, (NET),  and pivotal response training (PRT).   

Integrated Related Services

We integrate a comprehensive set of related services into our school curriculum including: Behavioral Interventions, Speech Therapy, Activities of Daily Living, Yoga, Music Therapy and Vocational Training.

Individualized Behavior Plans

Chrysalis Academy has a team of dedicated Board-Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA)on-site full time. Our BCBA’s provide each student with individualized attention specific to each student’s behavioral and social needs.  

Experienced Staff

Our team is comprised of 5 Certified Special Education teachers, A full time Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), a full-time Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP), 2 full-time Speech-Language Pathology Assistants (SLPA), 5 Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT) and a large team of highly qualified teaching assistants.

2:1 Student Ratio

Teaching is delivered in a 2:1 student to staff ratio as well as in small group and large group instruction. This allows students the opportunity to generalize skills in both small and large group settings.

Year-Round Program

Our school schedule is designed to maximize student progress while meeting the requirements of the Arizona Department of Education.  School is in session Monday through Friday with scheduled breaks throughout the year. 

Our Teaching Philosophy

Teaching begins by developing a positive relationship between instructors and students. This is done in a strategic way through pairing. Pairing is the process of pairing a neutral stimulus with a reinforcing stimulus resulting in the neutral stimulus becoming a reinforcing stimulus. The next step is to establish instructional control, which is gradually introducing easy or mastered instructions followed by immediate reinforcement for a correct response. This develops a history of reinforcement for compliance with instruction. Teaching is most effective when done in a developmentally appropriate sequence. Students with ASD often require skills to be broken down into small steps. This process is referred to as task analysis.


There are two key components to our teaching philosophy. First, positive behaviors demonstrated by the child should be reinforced frequently and consistently. It is important that a high ratio of positive reinforcement to corrective feedback is maintained during the teaching session. Chrysalis Academy refers to this as the "4:1 ratio" (four positive comments to one corrective comment). Second, undesired behavior should not be reinforced. Behaviors are often reinforced and maintained by attention. Therefore, our primary rule in this regard is NOT to comment or react to undesired behaviors emitted by the child.


Children with ASD frequently experience frustration and failure, which often results in earned helplessness. To combat this, we plan for the child to be successful within the teaching session. We do this by presenting the child with 80 percent easy or mastered instructions interspersed with 20 percent new or acquisition instructions.


It is also an important part of our teaching philosophy that the interactions during teaching are fun and motivating for the student. Each person entering into a teaching interaction should keep this concept in the forefront of his or her thoughts. The most important overarching lesson for students with ASD may be that interacting with other people is important and rewarding.

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