Gap Academy
4 John Street, Toronto, Ontario   M9N 1J3   416  249-1500  
An innovative approach to teaching pre-teens and adolescents with  learning disabilities.
Gap Articles
"Welcome to the wonderful world of Gap, where things really change."
A centre for young children with autism.
Resource from
Autism Spectrum Disorders are lifelong neurodevelopmental disorders that affect how people
communicate and relate to others. The range and intensity of disability varies, but all people affected
by Autism Spectrum Disorders (four times diagnosed in boys than girls)  have difficulty with
communication, learning and social skills. There is no definitive cause or cure, but specialized
interventions can give people affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders the tools they need to lead full
and productive lives.

What is Autism?

Autism is a complex developmental disorder that typically affects a person's ability to communicate,
form relationships, and respond appropriately to the environment. Autism results from a neurological
disorder that impedes normal brain development in the areas of social interaction and
communication skills.

Often referred to as a "spectrum disorder," the symptoms and characteristics of autism can present
themselves in a variety of combinations, to varying degrees of severity, from mild to severe. The
phrase “autism spectrum disorders” (ASD) refers to a broad definition of autism including Pervasive
Developmental Disorder (PDD), Rett's syndrome, Asperger syndrome, and Childhood Disintegrative

At Gap, we've also seen many cases of undiagnosed autism spectrum disorder.   We've seen kids
come to our school due to behaviour problems at other educational centres, for example, or
diagnosed language problems.  

Most students with autism spectrum disorders benefit from a comprehensive social skills program,
which we immerse in our complete day (instead of having a 1/2 hour class per week).  These
students are constantly challenged throughout the day to improve their social understanding, make
friends, find social outlets and improve in the specific language areas, which seem to plague autistic
individuals:  non-pragmatic language, idiomatic expressions, pronoun reversals, and social
language.  We also use desensitization programs, if necessary, to resolve issues of sensory input.

Although we follow a loosely based ABA style with behavioural modification techniques, we are not an
ABA centre; because our students are teenagers, or pre-teenagers, we believe, given the age group,
that a more integrated approach works well.  

We have consistently gotten dramatic results with our innovative "Red Paper Clip" theory of the
language problem of autism.  Email us for more information on this innovative approach.
The Red Paper Clip Theory:    
An Innovative Way of Teaching Children
with Autism to Talk Directly

Email us to find out about our innovative approach to
teaching children with autism to speak directly
"While we try to teach our
children all about life, our
children teach us what life
is all about."
Angela Schwindt
Autism & Autism Spectrum Disorder
It's Not Just in The Head

An article by Jill Newmark for Discover