MEETING NEEDS AND DEVELOPING SKILLS FOR LIFE
OCCUPATIONAL & PHYSICAL THERAPY
In our state of the art 2,000 square foot department, we have the privilege to provide our students with multiple sensory experiences. When warranted, individual sessions focus on addressing each child’s needs, whether they be sensory motor, fine motor, visual motor/visual perceptual, motor planning, or self- regulation. Our therapy gym also has a large break area, separate from our treatment area, with multiple options for movement, heavy work, and overall sensory input. Students who need to take a break from the classroom in order to focus or release energy are welcome to come up to the OT room for a set amount of time and then return to class. The goal of these sensory breaks is to teach our students strategies needed for self-regulation, leading to more
successful classroom participation and social engagement.
Our occupational therapists have expertise in task analysis and work closely with our students and educational team. They can identify where challenges occur during the school day and can adapt or modify the task or environment to help our students reach their potential. Adaptations and modifications can include, but are not limited to, alternative classroom seating options, handwriting accommodations, adjustment to schedules to accommodate a student’s sensory need(s), noise cancelling headphones, fidgets, and strengthening exercises. The occupational therapy department strives to meet all of our students’ sensory needs by incorporating principles of sensory integration across all academic areas to maximize student success.
SPEECH, LANGUAGE, AND LITERACY
The staff of the speech, language, and literacy department may serve students with specific learning disabilities, autism, dyslexia, as well as other language-based diagnoses.
The certified staff consists of reading specialists and speech/language pathologists. Working collaboratively within the department and with classroom instructors, the staff provides a myriad of programs based on best practices and evidence-based research. The focus of this team is to provide instruction and support for students to develop language, speech, communication, and literacy skills. The focus is on enabling students to actively participate in the robust and well-balanced curricula.
Collectively, these specialists emphasize the development of the speech, language, and communication skills that are necessary to be successful in an academic and/or functional setting. Treatment addresses receptive and expressive language, phonological awareness, vocabulary development, reading comprehension, written language, pragmatic skills, executive function skills, and articulation and fluency.
Students are worked with individually, in small groups, and with in-class support. The function of this department is to be available to support students and foster both positive relationships and student self-esteem while helping students meet academic success. The delivery of services is centered on students’ language or literacy needs with a holistic view of the student.
A range of skills are addressed and a variety of research-based materials and methods are used to address the unique learning style of our students. Some teaching methods include, but are not limited to:
Wilson Reading System
Linda Mood Bell (Lips, stars and visualizing/verbalizing)
Functional Vocabulary for Adolescents and Adults
Framing Your Thoughts
Consistent collaboration between this department and parents, counselors, occupational therapists, teaching staff, and administrators serve to support educational planning for the classroom setting in all levels of our school.
SOCIAL SKILLS &COUNSELING
Each student at The Center School is assigned a counselor who is responsible for their social and emotional health. The counselor follows IEP goals and addresses the social, emotional, and behavioral concerns through individual and peer group social skills and counseling sessions.
Although counseling and social skill goals are driven by the student’s IEP, counselors understand that student needs are ever-changing and adapt to their student’s needs and concerns. With our thoughtful, student-centered approach, we see dramatic successes in the reduction of anxiety, school refusal, and impulse control issues. Students are taught the skills they need to be mindful, practice self-care, and foster positive relationships.
Our counselors are assigned and stationed directly into each academic school. Students are able to see their counselor throughout the school day and if needed, can come to them for assistance outside of assigned times. This also allows our staff to be proactive in addressing any needs students may have while establishing a positive rapport. Based on student needs, our highly trained staff use various evidence-based therapies to teach students how to live in the moment, develop healthy ways to cope with stress, regulate their emotions, and improve their relationships with others. Our social skills curriculums include Social Thinking, The Social Compass, and Zones of Regulation.
A student support coordinator also works full time in the building to assist the counseling staff with students. Trained in de-escalation techniques, social skills support and mindfulness, the student support coordinator is always available to meet with students and helps to create a calm, safe, environment for students who are feeling overwhelmed, upset, or just need a place to take a break. This allows students to have the support and tools necessary to meet success at any time during the school day. With proper support we find students develop the skills to self-regulate and advocate for their own needs.
In order to promote parent involvement and transition the daily work from school to home, counselors also lead parent meetings. These meetings happen throughout the school year with all parents able to attend. Topics differ each school year and are tailored to parent interest and current events/trends in special education. The purpose of the meetings is to empower and inform parents, while also giving them a voice and a platform to discuss and converse with other parents who share their experiences.
ON STAFF BCBA SUPPORT
Our BCBA creates individualized programming for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other behavioral needs using the principles of applied behavior analysis to increase skill acquisition and decrease maladaptive behaviors. Our BCBA collaborates with staff, creating programs that guide student success.