Our Programs » Our Special Educational Day-School Program

Our Special Educational Day-School Program

The Birchtree Center operates the first and only special educational day program approved by the New Hampshire Department of Education that enrolls exclusively children and youth with autism. At our center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, we offer seamless and uninterrupted 12-month center-based programming.

Who We Serve

Our center serves children and youth diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and related disorders in grades preK-12. Students travel to our center from Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.

Many of our students are referred to The Birchtree Center by school systems interested in partnering with our staff of knowledgeable and experienced specialists in the fields of applied behavior analysis, special education, communication, and occupational therapy.

Some students are referred to our center because their challenges extend beyond the academic. For more information about our students, click here.

Our Approach

At The Birchtree Center, students receive individualized instruction designed to build strong foundation skills, maximize individual strengths, develop strategies for challenges (for example, auditory sensitivities), and facilitate functional communication systems.  Clinical instructors rotate among the students in their classrooms in two-hour-long blocks, so that each student works with several instructors over the course of the day. This kind of rotation facilitates generalization of skills and fosters relationships.

Student groups are provided throughout the day in structured and unstructured social settings. Our center’s location in Portsmouth provides ideal opportunities for students to interact with the local community and prepare for life outside of The Birchtree Center. Students visit local playgrounds, museums, nature centers, and the public library, and work with instructors to learn life skills such as shopping, laundry, and more.

Instructional areas include:

  • Academics
  • Communication & Social Skills
  • Self-Care & Hygiene
  • Mobility & Fitness
  • Behavior & Self-Regulation
  • Vocational & Independent-Living Skills
  • Leisure Skills & Community Participation

All student programs follow New Hampshire state education standards and frameworks. For more information about our approach, click here.

Students aged 14 years and up participate in Students Achieving Independence for Life (SAIL) activities, which aim to teach students the skills necessary to attain full and productive lives at home, at school, and in the community.

Duration of Enrollment

Our staff works closely with families and referring school districts to prepare students to succeed outside of our specialized program. Some students attend our center-based program for two to three years and then transition back to their neighborhood schools.  Other students may be enrolled for longer periods of time.

Our Staff

Birchtree’s day-school staff includes autism experts who are specialists in the fields of applied behavior analysis, special education, communication, and occupational therapy. These specialists design and closely supervise all student programs. Highly trained and closely supervised staff, including Registered Behavior Technicians® (RBTs®), work with students one-on-one and in small groups. For more information about our staff, click here.

For More Information

For enrollment information and other information, contact us.