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Specially Designed Education Services


What is the Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics©?

Created by teachers for teachers, the Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics© is the key to special education for K-12 and transition students with mild, moderate and severe disabilities, including autism.

With 14 Elementary and 13 Secondary basic academic and life skills content areas, the program creates a cohesive learning experience across multiple grades.  The easy-to-administer Assessment links directly to the Curriculum, and the program encourages students to be as independent as possible while eliminating repetitive busywork.


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Conduct thorough assessments to measure the present level of student performance and appropriate placement in each Curriculum content unit, with superior tools, such as:

  • PLOP (Present Levels of Performance) chart with skill-sequenced levels in 12 Academic and Life Skills units and information on Community Based Training and Independent Skills evaluation.

  • The assessment sequence for each content unit.

  • Separate assessments for each skill-sequenced step in each unit.

  • Prompt, response, and scoring instructions for each assessment.

  • Materials needed for each assessment.

  • The Curriculum Flow Chart for each unit showing the link between PLOP level and appropriate Curriculum lesson.


Teach real-world functional academic and life skills to special needs students with Elementary and Secondary curricula units that include:

  • Functional Reading

  • Colors

  • Shapes

  • Location Concepts

  • Technology

  • Writing

  • Time Telling

  • Calendar

  • Time Management

  • Money Math

  • Budgeting and Banking

  • Community-Based Training

  • Independent Skills

  • Prevocational


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  • See instant data on your students' progress and make informed decisions on their next steps

  • Provide reports and share relevant data securely with your teaching staff and parents

  • Track teaching staff performance and give them collaboration tools to keep on track

  • Customizable data collection means you can track as much or as little as you need to keep your class on task and making forward progress

*The Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics© is owned and copyrighted by the program author and is provided by Mundo Pato Inc. as an optional add-on to the UnitusTI electronic data records cloud service. For subscription information, please book a free demo or contact sales@mundopato.com.


Who is it for?

The Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics© was created by teachers for teachers. The curriculum is ideal for public and private schools for use by teachers, teacher-trained paraprofessionals or peer tutors as they work with individual students. Education administrators benefit from the management tools included in the UnitusTI platform and educators will appreciate the ability to administer the curriculum programs and easily manage the data collected, as well as the hands on training by the Styer-Fitzgerald team.



Why should you use it?


The Styer-Fitzgerald program is a comprehensive program that gives educators much needed tools for teaching students with special needs such as autism.  

Each content area unit includes multiple lessons and:

  • Skill-sequenced Flow Chart linking Present Levels of Performance assessment to the related curriculum lessons

  • Skill sequence list

  • Chart showing goals for every lesson with a sample short-term objective for each.

  • Instructional guidelines

  • Materials to use for each lesson

  • Individual lesson instructions with prompt, desired response, correction procedure, data collection instructions, and example data sheet with sample data

The program includes an easy to use Teaching Guide:

  • Guidelines for using each component of the Styer-Fitzgerald Program.

  • An overview of how the components work together.

  • ABA-based teaching strategies.

  • Progress data collection procedures.

  • Instructions for developing and updating IEPs.

  • A copy of a student Curriculum Progress Guide with explanation of its use.

  • A cross reference chart showing the interface between the Elementary and Secondary curriculum units (for continuous, uninterrupted student progress).


Top Ten Reasons School Districts Choose the Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics©: 

10.   The easy-to-administer assessment generates concise Present Levels of Performance and determines individualized
         placement in the curriculum providing measurable IEP goals.

  9.    Structure and organization minimizes student and staff downtime. 

  8.    The user-friendly data system shows daily progress across all academic programs.

  7.    Instruction methods use best practices and research-based teaching strategies.

  6.    The model maximizes the full potential of each student and ensures accountability.

  5.    Lesson plans support CCSS and alternate state assessments. 

  4.    The elementary and secondary curricula provide a much-needed cohesiveness for students from kindergarten through
          transition age.

  3.    Teaching functional academics in context ensures maintenance and generalization. 

  2.    The curriculum actively engages students with mild, moderate, and severe developmental disabilities, including autism.

         And the #1 reason school districts choose the Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics is...

  1.    The Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics was developed by teachers for teachers and has a proven track record in programs for students with a variety of disabilities.


How does it work?

Delivered through the UnitusTI electronic data records cloud. Access from any device, anywhere in the world


The Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics© is delivered via subscription to the UnitusTI cloud. The therapy involves a process of assessment and the creation of an individual protocol specifically designed for the needs of the individual client.  With leading-edge data collection, staff and client management tools and the Program built right into UnitusTI, you can focus on the teaching, anytime, anywhere. 

  • See instant data on your students' progress and make informed decisions on their next steps

  • Provide reports and share relevant data securely with your teaching staff and parents

  • Track teaching staff performance and give them collaboration tools to keep on track

  • Customizable data collection means you can track as much or as little as you need to keep your class on task and making forward progress

  • Connect to your existing service, such as PowerSchool or other learning management system

UnitusTI capabilities include:

Assessments |   Programs   |   Curricula   |   Data Acquisition Types   |   Program Maintenance   |  Target Maintenance   |   Pre-defined Reports   |   Customizable Reports   |   Service Code Tracking   |   Graphing   |  Calendar   |   Internal Messaging   |   Document Storage   |   Session Tracking   |   Interactive Materials   |   Role-based Access   |   Multimedia   |   Automatic Backups   |  Billing Prep   |   Real-time Data Monitoring


Find out more...

Get more information from one of our experts or schedule a free demo to see it live.


About the Author

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About SDES: Specially Designed Education Services (SDES) is focused on providing products, training, & consultation related to programming for students with moderate to severe disabilities including autism. We provide training and consultation related to the implementation of The Styer-Fitzgerald  Program for Functional Academics. We also work with teams to address child-specific concerns (initial programming, planning for communication, behavior, etc.), as well as classroom set-up and scheduling. We provide pre-scheduled workshops and webinars as well as district-wide trainings on location. 

Learn more about SDES here: www.sdesworks.com


Suzanne Fitzgerald, Author/President of SDES

Suzanne Fitzgerald has worked with children and adults with developmental, physical, emotional, and behavioral disabilities in classroom, vocational, residential, and recreational settings for the past 21 years. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Services from Western Washington University and her Teaching Certification and Masters in Special Education degree from the University of Washington. Suzanne was a middle and high school special education teacher for the Snohomish School District.

Suzanne is co-owner and educational consultant for Specially Designed Education Services (SDES) where she specializes in providing training and consultation related to programming for students with multiple disabilities. In addition, Suzanne serves as a Project Partner with Washington Sensory Disability Services where she assists children who have significant disabilities including deaf-blindness. In that role, she provides training and other support to families and service providers. She is also a Special Education Cadre Trainer with the Washington Education Association. As a cadre trainer, she is responsible for providing requested trainings in areas pertinent to the provision of special education services to students with disabilities.

Suzanne began collaborating with Dr. Styer on the Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics as she entered the special education program at the University of Washington. Recognizing the unique value of the material, Suzanne collaborated with Candice to standardize and refine the Program's content and structure and has added complementary material from her own work in the field.


Candice Styer, Author/Consultant to SDES

Candice Styer has worked in the field of special education for over 30 years. She received her teaching certification, M.Ed., and Ph.D. at the University of Oregon. She developed the life skills assessment and curriculum over the last 30 years while teaching middle school and high school students with moderate and severe disabilities.

She continues to train a number of school districts to administer the assessment and implement the curriculum. She has also trained teachers and paraprofessionals in the areas of Transition Planning, Behavior Management, and Curriculum Development. She has been an adjunct faculty member in teacher training programs at the University of Oregon, Western Washington University, and Seattle Pacific University.

In addition to her years in the classroom, she has worked as a consultant and trainer for the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) at the University of South Florida. Dr. Styer was the Special Education Director for the Lopez Island School District, and she has worked as a case manager for the Developmental Disabilities Department.

Candice is the author of Life After School: Transition Planning and Preparation for Students with Disabilities.

Dr. Styer has been developing the practices and content in the Styer-Fitzgerald Functional Academics Program throughout her career with an emphasis on the vital mix of research supported best practices and classroom practitioner experience based wisdom. She continues to share her knowledge and experiences with other teachers in a variety of settings.


Program Author Media and Events


Styer-Fitzgerald at the 2018 Urban Collaborative

Styer-Fitzgerald at the 2018 Urban Collaborative