Teaching, Healing and Realizing Individual Victories Everyday


Little City is leading the way for children with the most profound intellectual and developmental disabilities.

As families and children continue to seek services out of state or are at-risk of institutional placements, Little City has become the first agency in the state to offer specialized residential and educational programs for the most vulnerable children.

Little City’s ChildBridge Center for Education has launched the THRIVE program – specifically designed to serve students who have high-intensity behaviors and are at-risk of being placed in institutional settings.

The primary focus of programming is on addressing the student’s significant maladaptive behaviors and developing independence in achieving daily living skills and acceptable social skills. The focus on social-emotional regulation capabilities helps the students learn safe and productive coping methods and communication.

School principal Phil Siegel said one key to the program that sets it apart from most other learning environments is the shift away from “masking” behaviors. He said while most schools would have students suppress behaviors, the THRIVE program has a team of support staff and BCBAs to safely guide the student through the process so they can learn to recognize and change the behavior instead of suppressing it.

“Growth and change can take time, especially for people with profound developmental disabilities, and this program allows them to learn and grow at their pace,” he said. “When they are able to work through their behaviors, they are able to learn much more efficiently.”


Each classroom has no more than four students and those students are supported by a special education teacher, no less than three paraprofessionals and a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst. The program utilizes a Direct Instruction Model that is based on the premise that all students can learn if instructional communications are presented logically, unambiguously, and clearly.

The educational aspect is only one part of a continuous learning and support program that will also extend to the home. Birch and Maple Homes as well as the new home being built at the Duffey Family Children’s Village will house many of the students in the program so there is a symmetry between the support and education they receive at school and in home.

State officials have already expressed interest in Little City expanding programs like THRIVE to serve more children at-risk of institutional settings or leaving the state.

Learn more about our ChildBridge Center for Education