Building Based and Speech Language
Building Based Services for children with disabilities are often referred to as "Resource." Each child's Individiualized Education Program (IEP) determines what he/she needs in order to be successful in the Least Restrictive Environment. All buildings in member districts have Building Based Programs in which students receive specialized instruction in deficit areas provided by a Certified Special Education Teacher.
Speech and Language Services focus on the communication needs of students. The goal of school based speech language pathologist is to re-mediate or alleviate student communication barriers within the educational environment. Areas of focus can include: articulation, fluency, voice, language, and swallowing impairments for the purpose of developing or improving the use of functional communication skills.
STRIVE and Structure Programs
STRIVE and Structure Programs are located in most buildings; however, there are some schools that share services with a neighboring school or district. Both programs provide specialized instruction for students with moderate to severe deficits in cognitive disabilites, communication disorders, and/or signficant social and emotional delays. Emphasis is placed on specialized training, increased language and communication supports, positive behavior and applied analysis, developing readiness skills and vocational education.
Specialized Training, Readiness Instruction, and Vocational Education (STRIVE): Students in specialized programs attend classes within general education buildings throughout the county with academic and social/emotional emphasis based on the students' abilities. Curriculum is developmentally appropriate to meet the needs of students who may require specialized instruction in the areas of self help, motor, and communication. Additional areas of focus are life skills, vocational skills, recreation and leisure skills, and integration into the community. This is a comprehensive program of physical, occupational, and speech language therapy as well as nursing services as appropriate.
Structure Programs: A comprehensive service for students that require intensive small group instruction with a focus on behavior management. Each learning environment utilizes Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports to encourage appropriate behaviors. This occurs in several learning environments located within district buildings. An intensive alternative educational program, The Learning Center, is designed for students who require behavioral/emotional supports in an interim alternate placement.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing
WCES houses a regional program serving the needs of children who are deaf and hard of hearing from ages 3-21. The programs are located within Marion CUSD 2 School District and facilities, including appropriate inclusive opportunities in general education environments. Education Interpreters are available to facilitate communication and understanding.
DHH Program: WCES maintains a total communication philosophy designed to meet the unique communication needs of each student with instruction being presented orally in conjunction with signs. Emphasis is placed upon the development of communication and literacy, language and speech. Services are provided through an intensive language based approach with emphasis on the areas of learning impacted by hearing loss. Students with cochlear implants are provided services focusing on developing audition, vocabulary, and language.
Early Childhood Special Education
WCES is committed to providing appropriate services to children with special needs aged 3-5 that focus on development across all domains, including social, adaptive, cognitive, communication, fine and gross motor.
ECSE Programs: Teachers in ECSE programs work closely with PreSchool For All and HeadStart in Williamson County. ECSE programs are housed in most schools that offer a PreK Program, models include itinerant, blended, and self-contained classrooms. Many of the support services identified in a child's IEP are provided within the classroom in order to facilitate interactions, as well as design environments and activities that invite communication, social interaction, and cognitive and motor exploration.
Public Act 102-0209 Section 11h allows children to continue early intervention (EI) services until the beginning of the next school year if:
Children receive early intervention prior to their third birthday,
They qualify for early childhood special education services and an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is developed, and
Parents/guardians elect to remain in EI.
If all criteria are met, parents/guardians have the option to have their children remain in EI until the beginning of the next school year or move to early childhood special education (ECSE) services through the school district. It is important to note that children enrolled in EI and turning 3 will still need to have an evaluation, if warranted, and have an IEP developed, if qualified, prior to the third birthday. Families that elect ECSE services will not be able to have their children return to EI services once the ECSE services have ended.
Psychological and Social Work Services
School Psychologists and Social Workers take an active role as collaborators with general education staff to assist in data collection, progress monitoring, and universal screening as part of the Response to Intervention (RTI) process.
Psychological Services: School psychologists provide staff with information regarding literacy, behavioral, social, and other academic deficits. They assist districts in identifying students at risk, collaboarting with teams to meet student needs, and assist in determining eligibility for special education. In many cases, psychologists are responsible for evaluation as well as a review of academic history, present level of skills, evaluation of learning processes and achievement, and assessment of the learning environment.
Social Work Services: School Social Workers conduct assessments and observation of students for the purpose of identifying appropriate interventions and assist in implementation. They collaborate in the evaluation of students to determine their need for special education services, including assessments of cultural background and adaptive behavior, medical history and curent health status. The data gathering and monitoring support the need for services in the areas of mental health, social, emotional, and attention span barriers. Social workers assist in the development and implementation of Functional Behavior Assessments and Behavior Intervention Plans and may also provide crisis intervention and consulation services. WCES Social Workers may provide direct counseling of individual or groups of students, as well as through consultation with school personnel, family, and representatives from community mental health agencies.
Physical and Occupational Therapy are a related service provided to assist a child with a disability to access the educational environment, using direct and indirect services, as well as assistive technology and environmental modifications. The decision of whether a child with a disability qualifies for school PT or OT is made by the IEP Team. This team determines whether the child has a disability, has a need for special education, and requires related services in order to access the educational environment.
Physical Therapy: Physical Therapists (PT) and Assistants (PTA) focus on a child's ability to move as independently as possible in the school environment. The school physical therapist evaluates the child's ability to move thorughout the school and to participate in classroom activities.
Occupational Therapy: School based OT is designed to enhance the student's ability to fully access and be successful in the learning environment. This might include working on handwriting or fine motor skills, helping the child organize hiimself, working with the teacher to modify the classroom and/or adapt learning materials to facilitate successful participation.