School-based occupational therapy helps students participate and "Live Life to Its Fullest"! Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants promote students’ functional abilities and their participation in meaningful, necessary and familiar activities. In the school setting, occupational therapists evaluate children’s performance of school-related tasks and support student engagement in daily routines. Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants focus on how students occupy their time in their school environment and work with students to transition through the various educational stages to adult roles. Depending on a student’s goals described on the Individualized Education Program (IEP), occupational therapy practitioners strive to improve fine motor and gross motor skills, play skills, socialization skills, and performance of self-care activities such as dressing, feeding, and personal hygiene, prevocational task, and other functional activities which increase a student’s independence. Occupational therapy practitioners help students to develop and sustain positive work habits and skills. Therapeutic strategies used at CLC include modifying tasks and/or the environment, teaching compensatory methods, offering positive behavior approaches, and facilitating the use of assistive devices and adapted equipment. Service delivery options include individual one-on-one sessions, group sessions (if appropriate), and consultation with the educational team.
Involvement of family members and caregivers is critical in school-based occupational therapy at CLC as family and caregivers help ideas from therapy fit into daily routines. Collaborating with family members and caregivers to determine meaningful goals assures successful therapeutic outcomes, and improved health and quality of life for the student.
The CLC physical therapist evaluates students and develops a meaningful plan of care in the school setting to allow the student to participate in meaningful school activities and routines with or without assistance.
The school-based physical therapist promotes motor development and the student’s participation and access in the academic environment as it relates to the Individualized Educational Program (IEP). Physical therapists are responsible for evaluating and treating students with disabilities, assessing, and recommending adaptive equipment and assistive technology. Physical therapy services are provided via direct student-therapist sessions, consultation and collaboration with other team members.
Physical therapists have a unique expertise in movement and function. They focus on developing safe and efficient functional mobility skills, gross motor skills, as well as postural alignment and positioning in everyday routines and activities that are part of the student’s educational program. Included in this are activities of a school day such as moving throughout school grounds, sitting, standing in line or at the smart board, and moving within the classroom and/or through the hallways. Interventions may include working directly with a student on functional motor skills, identifying the need for adaptive equipment, developing adaptations to school environments to facilitate student access and participation, and collaborating with school staff and other professionals.
SPEECH, LANGUAGE AND HEARING THERAPY
Speech/Language Pathologists at CLC specialize in establishing and enhancing students’ communication and feeding abilities.
• Students at CLC are encouraged to reach their full communication potential by utilizing a variety and combination of communication methods.
? Individualized programs are designed to stimulate pre-language and language development, in both comprehension and expression.
? Students learn and practice using spoken communication and a myriad of augmentative/alternative communication systems. CLC prides itself in keeping up with the latest technology and advanced therapeutic strategies to ensure each student reaches their potential with ease.
• Speech/Language Pathologists at CLC are specially trained in feeding/swallowing disorders and therapeutic interventions. Feeding therapy is targeted from nutritional, social and oral developmental viewpoints. Parent engagement, education and counseling go hand-in-hand with all feeding therapy approaches.
• In addition to working with individual students and small groups, the Speech/Language Pathologists work with the classroom staff in providing collaborative interventions to ensure carryover of progress outside the therapy environment. The Speech/Language Pathologist’s participation in team meetings, training of faculty and staff, and engaging families ensure optimal student achievement.
AUGMENTATIVE /ALTERNATIVE COMMUNICATION
Augmentative/Alternative Communication (AAC) is a term used to describe various methods, other than oral speech, that are used to communicate. AAC enhances communication by encompassing all forms of communication used to express thoughts, feelings, needs and ideas. AAC can be either aided or unaided. Aided communication systems include the use of various tools or equipment to supplement oral speech. Aided communication can range from low to hi-tech, and can include materials such as a pen/pencil, pictures, symbols, communication boards, simple switches and electronic speech generating devices. Unaided communication systems make use of a person’s body and include things such as facial expressions, body movements, signs and gestures.
AAC is customized for each individual student, to meet their educational and personal needs.
SOCIAL WORK SERVICES
The social worker is most often the first person you meet when your child starts school at CLC. They coordinate the process of entering the school program and continue as a school liaison and support service to you and your child from that point forward, as long as your child attends CLC. The social workers are members of the multidisciplinary team of educators and therapists who work with your child and monitor his/her progress in school. Social workers can provide individual counseling, parent training, educational workshops and support groups for parents and caregivers. They can also assist families with information and referral to medical or educational supports and services, benefits, and waiver programs that benefit the child.
Families are encouraged to contact their social worker in order to schedule team meetings, visits for observation of therapy sessions or to relay any other questions or concerns about student’s progress.
School Psychologists help students thrive! School psychologists are uniquely qualified to support students’ ability to learn and teachers’ ability to teach. They apply expertise in mental health, learning, and behavior to help children succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally. School psychologists collaborate with families, teachers, school administrators, and other professionals to create safe, supportive learning environments that reinforce connections between home, school, and the community.
What Do School Psychologists Do? School psychologists work with individual students and groups of students providing these services:
• Assessment: evaluate academic skills, learning aptitudes, personality and emotional development, social skills, and eligibility for special education.
• Consultation: collaborate with teachers, parents, and administrators to find effective solutions to problems in learning and behavior. Help others understand child development and how it affects learning and behavior.
• Intervention: help with problems in learning and adjustment, provide psychological counseling for children and families, social skills training, and behavior management.
• Research and Planning: evaluate the effectiveness of academic programs, behavior management plans, and other services and contribute to planning and evaluating school-wide performance, reform and restructuring.
The Rehabilitation Technology Department provides services to meet individual students’ adaptive equipment and assistive technology needs within the school environment. It is comprised of staff with expertise in carpentry and engineering who design and construct adaptive equipment for the students. In collaboration with Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy, each student at CLC is evaluated to assess their individual seating needs in order to optimally function within the classroom environment. Additionally, the Rehabilitation Technology Department works closely with the Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy Departments to make toys switch-adaptable, which allows all students accessibility to toys for play. For students with augmentative communication needs, the Rehabilitation Technology Department can address switch modifications and mounting changes for communication devices to allow student activation and access. The Rehabilitation Technology Department’s main goal is to enhance independent functioning through the use of assistive technology within the school environment.
The CLC Nursing Department offers caring, individualized nursing care to the students who attend CLC. The nurses assess illness and injuries and render the appropriate care. All nurses are CPR and AED-certified. The nursing staff works with the families and other CLC faculty, including attending school class trips, to ensure optimal care is received.
In addition to everyday bumps, bruises and medication administration, the nursing staff routinely provides the following medical treatments:
• G-Tube feeding
• nebulizer treatments
• suctioning as needed
• emergency treatments such as Epi-Pen and Diastat