Promise Program for Autism

The Promise Program is a full-day educational program for preschool children who are typically between 3 and 5 years old. This program incorporates educational services, intensive therapy and family support for children who demonstrate characteristics related to autism spectrum disorders. The program goal is to promote language development, social skills and academic knowledge in preparation for their transition to elementary school.

The Promise Program utilizes Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), which is the only educational approach that is recommended by the New York State Department of Education as an accepted, evidence-based, intervention for young children with autism spectrum disorder. As part of the ABA approach, there is a strong emphasis on the use of positive behavior supports to promote acquisition of skills and prosocial behaviors that are appropriate to each child’s developmental level.

There are six Promise Program classrooms with six students in each room. Each classroom is led by a certified special education teacher, who is supported by one behavior specialist assistant and two paraprofessional classroom aides. We believe that one of our primary responsibilities to our young students is to support their formation of positive feelings and expectations for the school environment in order to promote a smoother transition into kindergarten.

Each student in the Promise Program has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) with specific goals that are addressed through a combination of small group instruction, discrete trial teaching, incidental learning opportunities, peer modeling and semi-structured free play time. The curriculum covers a broad range of educational and developmental domains, including speech/language, cognition, motor skills, socialization, play/leisure, self-help, emotion regulation and coping, as well as reduction of maladaptive behaviors.

We believe that collaboration between school and family is vital to each child’s success.  Our teachers and other professional staff communicate with family members through daily notes, phone calls, and bi-annual conference meetings. In addition, the Promise Program plans many fun and informative activities throughout the year. Two on-going activities are the Coffee Club and the Autism Support Group.  

For more information about the Promise Program at Upstate Cerebral Palsy, contact Dr. Jean Jacobson at (315) 797-6241 ext. 233 or

All content on this website is the property of Upstate Cerebral Palsy. All rights reserved.