Customized Workshops

For registration and pricing information, please contact Betty Astacio at or call (973) 542-0743 x305.

The Phoenix Center is offering customized professional development workshops targeting services for students with multiple disabilities including autism…we call this “The Phoenix Center On the Go!”

Our staff supports you and your included students by sharing our years of expertise through these fully customizable workshops. Through ASAH, the Private School Association of New Jersey, we will be able to provide your teaching staff with Continuing Education Units. (CEU’S)

Available Workshop Topics (partial list)

Creating Quality Documentation Portfolios for Your Students

The Phoenix Center Curriculum Specialists

This workshop will demonstrate the essentials on how to organize, assemble, monitor, and evaluate a documentation portfolio that reflects students’ growth and improvement toward mastery of goals and objectives.  In this workshop, participants will learn different ways to gather necessary information, evidence, and how the materials/evidence can be included.  The presenters will show the different components that are part of a well-developed documentation portfolio.

The Role of the Paraprofessional in the Special Education Classroom

The Phoenix Center Curriculum Specialists

This workshop will review and refine the skills required for success when working in the classroom as a paraprofessional with students. Topics covered will include a variety of prompting techniques and prompt hierarchy, various methods of data collection with examples and demonstrations, role in the implementation of behavior plans and sensory diets, portfolio set up and filing of basic evidence/data, and information related to current trends in the technology used in the classroom during instructional work sessions, such as SMARTBoard and iPads.

Improving Employability of Transition-Aged Students through Developing Self-Management, Communication, and Social Skills

The Phoenix Center Multi-disciplinary Team

The biggest challenge students face is demonstrating the critical domains for job success: self-management, communication, and social skills.  Participants will be provided with innovative instructional strategies that empower their students to succeed in their employment settings during school and after graduation.  Participants will learn how to create collaborative learning teams that address employability skills and develop year-long thematic units that align with the 21st Century Life and Careers State Standards.

Aligning Curriculum to State Standards

The Phoenix Center Curriculum Specialists

The Phoenix Center offers a variety of workshops to help schools develop a curriculum to meet the unique needs of their special education population.  The presenters may also work collaboratively with a small group of educators on aligning their curriculum and instruction to the New Jersey Student Learning Standards.

A Functioning Functional Program 

The Phoenix Center’s Consumer, Family, Life Skills Instructor

The workshop titled “A Functioning Functional Program” will provide attendees with tools and tricks for an authentic and experiential life skills program.  This course will offer ideas to differentiate instruction for the generalization of life skills. During this workshop, you will learn how to create an appropriate curriculum for all types of learners that will prepare students for a more independent life.

Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) and Communication Strategies

Phoenix Center Speech and Language Specialists

AAC and Communication Strategies is a general level class designed for teachers, paraprofessionals, parents, employment specialists, special area teachers, occupational and physical therapists.  The presentation will focus on the following: The basics of communication, an overview of AAC, aided language stimulation, and how this strategy can promote communication. This workshop will be a combination of both lecture and hands-on activities.

Move, Listen, & Learn: Incorporating Movement Breaks into Academic Classroom Lessons   

The Phoenix Center’s Physical Therapist, Eileen Mulcahy

Research supports the use of movement to improve attention in the classroom. Incorporating movement breaks can refocus students, offer students the opportunity to expend physical energy between mental tasks, use movement to enhance counting and sequencing, act out concepts, and feel more comfortable after stretching and changing positions.  The presentation will discuss some of the programs used in the classroom, including Brain Gym, Brain Breaks, Get Ready To Learn, and Yogarilla.

“Yes, I’m interested in Yoga! Now What?”

The Phoenix Center’s Physical Therapist, Lisa Duffus 

Yoga classes for children are gaining popularity both in schools and the community. It is no wonder as yoga methods have been shown to improve everything from strength, balance, and body awareness to attention, memory, behavior, and self-esteem. It can be difficult to figure out which poses and techniques will provide these benefits and how to modify activities to make yoga accessible for all. This presentation will provide strategies for using yoga principles in classrooms, therapy sessions, or as a leisure activity for children and young adults with special needs. Tips and tricks will be provided for how to structure a yoga activity or class, how to use videos, apps, or pictures to support students, as well as how to use props, verbal cues, and variations to poses to promote the best results and accessibility for a variety of learners.

The Nuts and Bolts of Successful Transition Planning

The Phoenix Center’s Transition Coordinator, Laureen Protomastro

This workshop will focus on the development and implementation of successful transition planning.  Topics covered will include an overview of state requirements for transition plans, development and implementation of Structured Learning Experiences and job skills programs; the development and implementation of community-based instruction and life skills programs within your school, and how to provide family assistance in planning for transition into Adult Services. The discussion will be related to the specific needs of your district.  A preliminary meeting prior to the workshop is suggested in order to develop an appropriate workshop agenda that will target the specific needs of your district more completely.

Participants will gain knowledge and skills in:

  1. Understanding both the New Jersey and Federal requirements for individual student transition plans.
  2. The definition of the various program options including Community-Based Instruction (CBI), and Structured Learning Experiences (SLE).
  3. How to develop and implement these life skills programs in district.
  4. How to provide assistance to families in planning for transition into Adult Services including Division of Development Disabilities (DDD) and/or Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) registrations, and obtaining Support Coordination Services.

If you would like to discuss the development of a customized workshop for your team, please contact Betty Astacio at or 973-542-0743 ext. 305.