COLA Program

mmunication and Language Program (COLA)

The COLA Program offers a highly structured classroom designed for those students who have difficulty learning in a small group setting. It is a language intensive program that uses the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis and Verbal Behavior to teach language, pre-academic and learning readiness skills, as well as social, play and group skills. Students in this class have significantly limited skill repertoires and therefore need a setting with low student to teacher ratios.


COLA targets students who score in Level 1 in most skill areas on the Verbal Behavioral Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VBMAPP) or students who are working on must have/red skills based on the McGreevy Essentials for Living. Students targeted by COLA may show some of the following traits:

* Display limited communication skills, request for reinforcing items, but do not use verbs, ask for missing items, ask for items with attributes, spontaneously comment, or answer questions

* Demonstrate difficulty independently following classroom routines

*Exhibit difficulty learning in a small groups setting/acquire new skills in direct instruction settings

* Require constant, direct supervision due to behavior problems and lack of safety awareness


The program focuses on intensive language intervention as well as the development of the skills necessary to be successful in less restrictive teaching environments including:

* Functional Communication

* Intensive language teaching based on Verbal Behavior and VBMAPP

* Waiting

* Accepting "no"

* Attending to teacher in small groups and responding to questions

* Following classroom routines

* Reducing frequency, intensity, and duration of problem behavior through various ABA strategies.


COLA uses the following structure guidelines to ensure students have the best outcome possible:

* Extensive staff training in the principles and methods of Applied Behavior Analysis

* Program books with specific teaching methods for each target skill and behaviors targeted for reduction

* Intensive teaching in the areas of language, communication, play and social skills 

* Systematic and thorough data collection and analysis with educational and behavioral decisions data driven

* Specific teaching on skills required to learn in larger groups 

* Program oversight by skilled, Board Certified Behavior Analysts

* Family training and support

* Elementary multi-aged classroom, Kindergarten- grade 6

* Secondary multi-aged classroom grades 6-12


For additional information on the COLA Program, please contact:

The School of Excellence 
Phone: (719) 635-6333