The chairman and CEO of K3 Learning, Inc., Michael Koffler inaugurated an endowed professorship in autism, at PACE University. Through the special education division of Michael Koffler’s K3 Learning, Michael Koffler founded Rebecca School and Aaron School in 2005 and 2002 respectively. K3 divested of these programs in 2013. Children living with autism receive therapy via the Developmental Individual Difference Relationship-Based (DIR) intervention method, at Rebecca School. Behavioral approaches also include ABA, which is widely used in many schools, as well.
DIR, which Rebecca School favors, uses relationships as a basis for developing a child’s social interaction skills. Drs. Serena Wieder and Stanley Greenspan designed DIR to help children with autism. This intervention method promotes growth in attention, communication, and thinking, as well as the ability to relate with others.
The DIR program involves comprehensive examinations of children with autism to determine their skills in six key areas of development. Then parents and caregivers use interactive play to help broaden communication circles and build relationships. Called floortime, this interactive playtime helps improve communication and relational skills by addressing possible motor processing and sensory deficits.
Studies have linked significant improvements to the DIR method. For example, one study looked at 16 children who met criteria for the Autism Diagnostic Observation schedule (ADOS) and Autism Diagnostic Interview—Revised (ADI—R). At follow-up meetings 30 months later, no children still met the ADOS/ADI—R criteria.