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The Douglass School


The Douglass School is a NJDOE approved public college operated program and a receiving program for students having an autism spectrum disorder who need specialized education and behavior intervention services. It offers a full-day, extended school-year and comprehensive services for learners ages 3-21 having a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. The School has two campuses, 151 Ryders Lane and 25 Gibbons Circle.

The Douglass School is committed to meeting the unique educational needs of individuals of a variety of ages and abilities using the science of applied behavior analysis to guide individualized programming for skill acquisition and behavior intervention; and, using the most current, empirically validated and least intrusive strategies that are appropriate for each individual. In addition, we are dedicated to providing families with the skills necessary to support skill acquisition and generalization, and behavior management in the home and community settings; and, to inform members of both the professional and lay communities about autism and to serve as a model for other educational facilities.

dddc student on playground

General Information

There are 10 classes of students: (see Class Descriptions listed below)


  • 25 Gibbons Circle, Cook/Douglass Campus, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8528
    Phone: 848-932-9137 FAX: 732-932-8011
    Operating hours: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
    Students attend the program from 9:15 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.
  • 151 Ryders Lane, Cook/Douglass Campus, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8557
    Phone: 848-932-4500 FAX: 732-932-4509
    Operating hours: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
    Students attend the program from 9:15 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.

Click here for directions

School Calendar 2018-2019 - (PDF)
School Calendar 2019-2020 - (PDF)


dddc student role paying in kitchen

The Douglass School supports the New Jersey Department of Education's mandate for a free, appropriate education and links curriculum to Common Core and the Preschool Teaching and Learning Expectations: Standards of Quality and the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards. The Verbal Behavior Language Classification System is used as a framework to guide language instruction. In addition, a full range of ABA strategies is used and may include, but is not limited to: discrete trial instruction, natural environment training, incidental teaching, shaping, and chaining. Functional behavior assessment is the cornerstone for the development of behavior interventions.

The Douglass School Program may also integrate assessments, materials or lessons from other curricular resources such as:

  • Teaching Language to Children with Autism or Other Developmental Disabilities by Mark L. Sundberg, Ph.D. and James W. Partington, Ph. D. 1998 Behavioral Analysts, Inc.
  • The Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills (TM)-Revised (ABLLS (TM-R)
  • The Verbal Behavior Milestones and Placement Program (VB-MAPP) by Mark L. Sundberg, Ph.D.
  • A Work in Progress - Behavior Management Strategies and a Curriculum for Intensive Behavioral Treatment of Autism by Ron Leaf and John McEachin. 1999 DRL Books.
  • Edmark Reading Programs
  • Hooked on Phonics
  • Language for Learning
  • Reading Mastery
  • Reading Milestones
  • Pace Math
  • Touch Math
  • Everyday Math
  • Handwriting Without Tears
  • The Sensible Pencil

The Douglass School's curriculum is individually planned and a primary goal is to prepare students to return to their home schools, and to provide them with skills necessary to function in community settings. Those students who continue to require a specialized setting and remain with us through adolescence are provided with programming for adaptive living, pre-vocational training and job sampling, as well as post secondary transition services.


  • Principal: a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Doctor of Education who oversees daily operations and staff supervision
  • Assistant Directors: Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) who oversee classes and supervise clinical staff
  • Behavior Analysts: BCBAs who provide training and support to teachers, lead instructors, speech and language specialists, and para-professionals for skill acquisition and behavior intervention
  • Teachers: Certificated staff who assess, develop, implement and evaluate individualized programming; provide direct instruction; and, supervise para-professionals.
  • Lead Instructors: Sub-certified teachers who provide in-class and home-based support
  • Speech and Language Specialists: Certificated staff who provide expertise in speech and language programming and speech therapy services for learners
  • School Nurse: Registered nurse, certificated staff member who provides support for medical emergencies, staff training, manages and distributes medication, and manages healthcare information
  • Behavior Support Specialists: BCBA faculty and a cohort of doctoral students who provide support for behavior intervention. (see Behavior and Research Services at the DDDC)
  • Para-Professionals: Support staff providing direct service to students in each class

The School Program

The Douglass School has preschool, elementary, intermediate, and secondary level classes. Common to all classes is a consistent structure:

  • A small staff to student ratio: 1:1 or 2:1
    • Staffing: Teacher, Lead Instructor, Speech and Language Specialist, Behavior Specialist, several para-professionals, oversight by a BCBA or BCaBA
  • Class size: 5-6 in Preschool/Elementary; 6-8 in Intermediate/Secondary
  • Individually applied ABA strategies
  • Functional Communication Training and Visual Supports
  • Parent training and support (observations, clinics, home consultation as needed)

Listed below are class descriptions.

The Small Wonders Preschool Class

pic of a boy and a girl working at a water table

The development of the Douglass School's preschool program was based on the premise that an initially segregated learning experience may promote some students' ability to thrive in an ultimately integrated environment. Consequently, the Small Wonders Preschool classroom is structured to maximize the student's capacity to transition systematically from one-to-one instruction to working in dyads, and on to integrated experiences with typically developing peers. In this model, students typically are provided more intensive teaching upon entering the program. Students then gradually transition to more naturalistic educational experiences with typical peers based on general guidelines developed by the staff for that purpose.

General Classroom Goals

  • Develop a variety of skills outlined by the New Jersey Preschool Teaching and Learning Expectations: Standards of Quality
  • Develop sitting and attending/joint attention, imitation, following directions
  • Develop functional communication using the Verbal Behavior Language Classification System
  • Develop discrimination skills
  • Develop adaptive skills (e.g. toileting, dressing)
  • Develop social skills: (e.g., functional play, sharing, reciprocal interaction)
pic of a boy in the dddc school at a table in a classroom


The Elementary level classes provide programming that augments the skills acquired in the preschool. Students have 1:1, small and large group instruction. Programming continues to address instructional readiness, behavioral control, functional communication, and social skills, with additional focus on functional academics, independence and life skills.

General Classroom Goals

  • Expose students to the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards
  • Increase functional vocabulary
  • Develop more complex discrimination skills
  • Strengthen independent work skills: (e.g., using photographic activity schedules)
  • Increase independence with functional routines
  • Generalize skills to community settings
pic of a boy and teacher working


The Intermediate level provides strategic individual support for students but also encourages small group instruction. This level continues to work on core curriculum and provides greater opportunities for community based instruction.

General Classroom Goals

  • Expose students to the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards through functional academics
  • Develop more complex skills for social interactions (e.g., expanding conversations, initiating interactions with adults and peers)
  • Develop more complex self-help and daily living skills
  • Introduce pre-vocational skills
  • Develop independent leisure skills
  • Increase community experiences (gradually introducing eating out and food shopping)
pic of a boy in the dddc school program


The Secondary level classes serve students with a wide range of skills. Students have one to one and small group instruction. Individualized programming builds on previously acquired skills in all core curriculum areas with a particular focus on skills to promote a successful transition to post secondary placements.

General Classroom Goals

  • Expose students to core curriculum content standards through functional academics
  • Refine and expand communication skills for social interaction in the work place and/ or leisure activities (either verbally or via augmentative communication devices)
  • Develop skills relevant for community-based job experiences
  • Promote independent daily living skills (e.g., cooking food, shopping, ordering lunch in a restaurant, using money, setting the table, wiping tables, etc.)
  • Refine skills in hygiene and personal awareness
  • Provide opportunities for age-appropriate recreational activities (e.g., exercising, bowling,mminiature golf, dining in a restaurant, playing video games, etc.)
  • Refine and expand vocational skills and community-based job sites

Child Study Team Information

General Information

  • The Douglass School is an approved program. See NJDOE website at
  • The CDS code is 24 8333 001
  • Related Services: Speech and language therapy; parent training (clinics, live-video observations, home-based); adaptive physical education; 7 week extended school year (see parent hand-book for information on the School Program
    policy regarding other related services)
  • Progress Reports: four times a year
  • The DDDC is an approved DLM testing site

Criteria for admission

  • A diagnosis on the autism spectrum
  • Referral from Child Study Team or other agency (we do not accept private pay)
  • Confirmation of diagnosis during on-site screening/intake


  • Send to the Director of Educational Services, DDDC, 151 Ryders Lane, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8557 or call 848-932-4500
  • Include the diagnostic report and the most recent IEP and Progress reports

Parent Information

Enrollment: All applications for admission to the Douglass School Program are made through school district referrals.

School Calendar 2017-2018 - (PDF)

Parent Handbook - (PDF)

Upcoming Events

Directions to 151 RYDERS LANE and 25 GIBBONS CIRCLE locations

DDDC Lead Water Sampling Results

Parent-Professional Organization - D.O.O.R.S



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