Assistive technology (AT) is any item, piece of equipment, software or product system that is used to increase, maintain or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. AT provides access to curriculum, allows for independence and enables students to actively participate in their education. AT may include:
Low tech to high tech communication systems
Computer technologies, such as access switches, keyboards and specialized software
FM systems for students in special education
The ARD committee may request an evaluation from the Assistive Technology Team in order to determine if a student needs a specialized device/equipment in order to access his/her curriculum.
“Music Therapy is an established health profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals.” (AMTA, 2015). A Board Certified Music Therapist will assess the needs of each student or group of students to employ the best use of music therapy strategies which can include creating, singing, moving, and listening to music along with the use of instruments, visuals, books, puppets or other tangible objects. Music Therapists create unique and original songs and strategies to fit the different needs of individuals with whom they work. Using preferred and/or age appropriate music can aid in enhancing mood, attention span, concentration, and appropriate/desired behaviors in students.
Music education and Music Therapy differ in the fact that music education is focused on increasing an individual’s knowledge of music and to develop musical skills, while the overall goal in a Music Therapy program is to use Music Therapy strategies to assist students in achieving their non-musical goals and objectives, and then be able to generalize and transfer these skills into all other areas of their lives. Research supports the effectiveness of Music Therapy in many different areas and the inherent ability of music to serve as an agent of change.
The Educational Enrichment Model of Music Therapy (which is the model used in Frisco ISD) allows a greater number and wider range of students to benefit from music therapy intervention. All music therapists in Frisco ISD must have at least a bachelor’s degree in music therapy, must have completed a 1200 hour clinical internship at an AMTA approved site, must have passed the Music Therapy Board Certification exam, and must maintain the credential MT-BC (Music Therapist-Board Certified). FISD Music Therapists adhere to the AMTA Standards of Clinical Practice as well as the Music Therapists’ Code of Ethics.
Educationally based occupational is provided, as a related service, to enhance the special education student's ability to adapt to and physically function within an educational environment.
The role of the occupational therapist is to facilitate a student's functioning in the school setting. The goal of educationally relevant therapy is to minimize the effects of the student's disability on his or her ability to participate in the educational process.
The OT therapist observes the student's functional skills and offers strategies to promote functional independence within the individualized educational program (IEP). In the school setting, educational objectives hold primary position while therapeutic activities are undertaken to support the educational objectives. Services are generally consultative in nature with implementation of the therapist's recommendations by the teacher, assistant, or parent.
OT services will be provided in the least restrictive environment (LRE), which generally means the classroom. By providing services in the classroom the therapist offers strategies needed for the student's daily activities with active teacher/assistant involvement. These strategies may include handling techniques, classroom modifications, school related self-care skills, fine motor skill development, sensory supports and/or adaptive equipment.
Orientation and Mobility
Orientation and mobility is a related service which enhances a student's with a visual impairment understanding of basic body awareness through skills to navigate their environment efficiently, effectively, and safely. It supports the development of a student's understanding of where he is in space and where he wants to go (orientation). It also helps him carry out the plan to there (mobility).
Educationally based (school based) physical therapy, provided as a related service, should be directed towards achievement of the functional tasks required to participate and benefit from special education placement. School based physical therapy is provided to minimize the effects of the student’s disability on his or her ability to participate in the educational process. The physical therapist evaluates the student’s functional skills and collaborates with school staff to develop an appropriate IEP. The role of the physical therapist is to enhance the student’s ability to fully access and be successful in the learning environment. Services can be direct and/ or consultative in nature with implementation of the therapist’s recommendations by the teacher, assistant, or parent. PT services will be provided in the least restrictive environment (LRE). By providing services in the child’s naturally occurring educational setting, the therapist is able to offer strategies needed for the student’s daily activities with active teacher/ assistant involvement.
Psychological Services are provided by Licensed Specialists in School Psychology (LSSPs). LSSPs are uniquely qualified members of school teams that support students' ability to learn and teachers' ability to teach. They apply expertise in mental health, learning, and behavior to help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally. LSSPs partner with families, teachers, school administrators, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments that strengthen connections between home, school, and the community (NASP). Specific psychological services are provided when prerequisites have been met. Services include general and special education consultation, special education evaluation, and special education indirect and direct counseling services.