Assistive Technology (AT)
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 served through 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 their curriculum.
School based audiological services include an educational audiologist making recommendations to support a student who is deaf/hard of hearing to gain access to information, both auditory and visual, to succeed in the classroom. For students using personal hearing instruments (e.g., hearing aids/devices), audiological services may include support for teachers, assistants, parents and students so they may understand how to perform daily listening checks to ensure the hearing instruments are working properly so students may access information. Audiological services may also support the evaluation, fit, and management of personal and classroom remote-microphone hearing assistance and other technologies.
Behavior Support Services
Our Behavior Specialists participate in the evaluation process as needed, and provide training and support to school staff working to support an individual student. They assist campus staff in identifying the root cause of negative behavior using an effective problem-solving process. Comprehensive support plans involving the use of positive behavior support strategies are developed by the school to include the teaching of appropriate interpersonal and/or social skills.
ARD Committees determine the need for Counseling services based on an individual student’s needs. According to the American School Counselor Association (2007), counseling services are intended to help all children in the areas of academic achievement, personal/social development and career development. This can include helping children with personal and social concerns such as developing self-knowledge, making effective decisions, learning health choices, and improving responsibility. Counselors may also help children with future planning related to setting and reaching academic goals, developing a positive attitude toward learning, and recognizing and utilizing academic strengths.
In-Home Training (IHT)
In-home training is a related service provided to a student to encourage generalization of skills mastered at school to home and community settings and/or to support the development of functional critical skills across settings. Areas of focus include communication, self-help, behavior, and social skills. After completion of an evaluation to identify a student's individual areas of need, the ARD/IEP committee will consider "viable alternatives" (i.e., consultation with school personnel, classroom observations, etc.) and/or develop goals/objectives outlining specific skills that will be addressed and will determine the frequency and duration of in home training services. In-home training may occur within the home or other community settings (i.e., daycare, restaurants, stores, etc.).
Music Therapy (MT)
Music Therapy uses music within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals. A Board Certified Music Therapist will assess the needs of individual 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 individual students. Using preferred and/or age appropriate music can aid in enhancing mood, attention span, concentration and appropriate/desired behaviors in students. ARD/IEP Committees will establish IEP goals/objectives for students identified as needing Music Therapy to access the curriculum and transfer and generalize their skills into all other areas of their lives.
Occupational Therapy (OT)
Educationally based occupational therapy 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 goal of educationally relevant occupational therapy is to minimize the effects of the student’s disability on their ability to participate in the educational process.
The Occupational Therapist observes the student’s functional skills and offers strategies to prompt functional independence within the student’s individual education plan (IEP). Services are generally consultative in nature with the 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 & Mobility Services (O&M))
Orientation and mobility is a related service for some students with visual impairments which enhances their 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/her carry out the plan to get there (mobility). After an evaluation is completed, an ARD/IEP Committee determines goals and objectives for the student and the need for O&M services.
Parent counseling and training is an important related service that can help parents enhance the vital role they play in the lives of their children. Parent training serves to assist parents in understanding the special needs of their child and help them acquire the necessary skills that will allow them to support the implementation of their child’s IEP.
The goal of parent training is to provide parents with information and tools for assisting their child's development of communication, self help, behavior, and social skills. Parent training is often provided to families of students receiving in-home training to give parents the necessary skills to continue working on their child's individual goals/objectives when the trainer is not present within the home. The ARD/IEP committee will identify specific areas of need and discuss "viable alternatives" through development of the Autism Supplement or within the deliberations of the ARD/IEP committee meeting.
Physical Therapy (PT)
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 services. School based physical therapy is provided to minimize the effects of the student’s disability on their 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. 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.
School Health Services
School Health Services are determined by the ARD/IEP Committee based on evaluation and individual student need. These services may be provided directly by a school nurse, or indirectly through the nurse’s training the teacher, assistant, and other staff to appropriately complete an individual student’s health related support and may include providing such health-related support as:
clean intermittent catheterization;
the management of a tracheostomy;
administering and/or dispensing medications;
planning for the safety of a child in school;
ensuring that care is given while at school and at school functions to prevent injury (e.g., changing a child’s position frequently to prevent pressure sores);
chronic disease management; and
conducting and/or promoting education and skills training for all (including the child) who serve as caregivers in the school setting.
Special Education Transportation
Transportation is included in an eligible child’s IEP if the ARD/IEP Committee determines that such a service is needed in order for the child to benefit from his or her special education. The term has a specific meaning and is defined in the IDEA as:
travel to and from school and between schools;
travel in and around school buildings; and
specialized equipment (such as special or adapted buses, lifts, and ramps), if required to provide special transportation for a child with a disability.