Student Services in Special Education

  • illustration of colored pencils


    Speech & language therapy

    Speech language pathologists work to prevent, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, and cognitive communication disorders.  The disorders can include speech sound production (articulation), language (expressive and receptive), voice, and fluency. Speech pathologists work with students who have communication disorders that adversely impact their educational performance in speaking, listening, reading, writing, and learning.

    Physical therapy

    Physical therapists assist the students in meeting educational goals in the area of functional motor and self-help.  Strategies and interventions relate to the student’s need for functional motor skills in mobility, movement, posture/positioning, access, participation, and safety in the educational environment. For students to receive physical therapy services, they must demonstrate that their mobility, posture/positioning are hindering access to their educational environment.

  • Occupational therapy

    School-based occupational therapy practitioners support a child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) to contribute to the development or improvement of academic achievement, social participation, and functional performance within school routines, including recess, classroom, cafeteria time, etc.  This might include working on handwriting or fine motor skills so the child can complete written assignments, helping the child organize in the environment (including work space in and around the desk), working with the teacher to modify the classroom because of sensory concerns, and/or adapting learning materials to facilitate successful participation. School-based occupational therapy is designed to enhance the student’s ability to fully access and be successful in the learning environment regardless of physical limitations, sensory-perceptual skills, difficulty with emotional regulation, poor fine motor development, praxis skills, etc.

  • Employment training

    This vocational program is for students receiving Special Education services as part of their academic programming needs. Students must have a postsecondary goal of “seeking to gain employment immediately upon graduation from high school.” They are referred through the annual review as a recommendation from the committee as part of the student's postsecondary transition plan. If the student qualifies, vocational training services are provided the last two years of high school education.

    Employment training is for students identified as needing a very small or 2:1 training and supports in order to be considered likely to secure and keep a job. This program is designed to help a student be better prepared for employment in the following ways:

    • Identify current vocational areas of interest;
    • Receive vocational training and support in several areas as part of a student’s academic day;
    • Receive individualized instruction as needed in real job settings;
    • Identify and apply accommodations on the job if needed for the student to better perform the job;
    • Assist students through the application and interview process;
    • Assist  students in navigating the social components/expectations of the work world;
    • Assist students and families in resolving transportation needs for work;
    • Address other factors that are considered barriers to successful employment.
  • Visually impaired services

    Teachers of students with visual impairments (TVI) provide direct and consultative services specific to a child’s condition, along with support to the students, families, and classroom teachers. The TVI also advises the educational team on ways to adapt activities and materials for better access to the curriculum. In addition, the TVI offers direct instruction on skills and concepts from the Expanded Core Curriculum, which covers such areas:

    • Compensatory, functional, and communication skills
    • Sensory efficiency
    • Orientation and mobility
    • Social skills
    • Independent living
    • Recreation and leisure
    • Use of technology
    • Career options
    • Self-determination

    The orientation and mobility specialist is a certified instructor who has received specialized training in teaching people who are blind or visually impaired to travel safely, gracefully, and efficiently through their environment including indoor and outdoor, familiar and unfamiliar. These staffers teach specific skills that students need in order to know where they are and how to move around independently, safely, and efficiently.

  • Deaf and hard of hearing services

    A continuum of services is available to all eligible students with a hearing loss. In accordance with Kentucky Department of Education standards, hearing-impaired educational services are provided in a variety of settings.

    Itinerant services: IEP service time is delivered from a teacher of the deaf-hard of hearing (DHH) and educational audiologist (if appropriate) in accordance with student's IEP. These professionals work with students and school teams in the s neighborhood school. They regularly work with the student and collaborate with teachers, staff members, and other service providers from a variety of general education and special education settings to help students make progress toward their targeted goals. Itinerant educational audiologists work with students to ensure they have access to assistive listening devices as appropriate in all aspects of their school day.

    Site-based services: Site-based programs are for DHH students whose IEP teams determine this level of service is appropriate for equal access to the curriculum. Communication modalities used in these programs include:

    • Auditory-oral – emphasizes the use of residual hearing through amplification technology as well as speech reading to access and develop language; focus on auditory skill development and verbal communication strategies.
    • Cued language – facilitates access to spoken language with visual access of cues or handshapes that represent sounds. The combination of handshapes with movement forms syllables, words, and sentences. The emphasis is on paired verbal and visual communication.
    • Total communication (sign language) – uses a variety of modes including American Sign Language (ASL), picture systems, sign-supported speech, fingerspelling, gestures, communication devices, and amplification technology to access and develop language.

    Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) discussion begins at the student’s base school:

    • Works within the framework of the POS with existing curriculum.
    • Provides an environment in which students and staff use one of the targeted communication modalities described above.
    • Directs instruction and ongoing language access by teachers with the ability for inclusion opportunities.
    • Interpreting and transliteration services on a regular and ongoing basis for students who require it.
    • Focuses on strategies for building vocabulary, language, literacy, and mathematics and 21st century skills.
    • Availability of DHH adult communication models.
    • Specialized equipment and assistive technology for students, with appropriate technology in all academic and extracurricular environments.
  • Health services

    The Special Education department has a designated nurse who works with students who also have health/nursing needs during the school day. This nurse coordinates services for students with complex medical conditions, facilitates training of unlicensed school personnel, and collaborates with families and their healthcare providers to ensure the appropriate paperwork is completed and on file each school year. Health services can also include daily care needs, diapering, toileting, feeding assist, G-tube feeding, urinary catheterization, positioning, seizure care, etc.

    Psychological services

    Psychological services support the development of improved skills in the areas of social-emotional, behavioral, or mental health to alleviate negative impacts on student learning. These services are provided by the school psychologist or other qualified mental health staff.