Speech Language, Occupational, Physical, and Applied Behavorial Analysis Therapies
Speech Language Specialists
School speech-language specialists provide therapy for students exhibiting a range of communication disorders, including those involving language, articulation, fluency and voice resonance. In addition, the speech-language specialists work with the district teaching staff and specialists to support instruction, develop communication skills and support hearing impaired students by monitoring hearing aids and classroom interventions.
Speech language specialists conduct speech/language assessments, in accordance with federal, state and local mandates. They also conduct assessments in collaboration with the district Child Study Teams and are part of the Child Study Team for preschool-aged students. They serve as case managers for students identified Eligible for Speech-Language Services.
- Sources: WTS Speech-Language Therapists and theAmerican Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Speech Language Specialists
School-based occupational therapists help students engage in the specific activities that make up daily life. For children and youth in schools, occupational therapy works to ensure that a student can participate in the full breadth of school activities—from paying attention in class; concentrating on the task at hand; holding a pencil, musical instrument, or book in the easiest way; or just behaving appropriately in class.
Occupational therapists help students perform particular tasks necessary for participation or learning. Occupational therapy practitioners don’t just focus on the specific problem that a child’s disability may present; rather, they look at the whole child and tackle individual tasks, helping students find ways to do the things they need and want to do.
Occupational therapists also work to provide consultation to teachers about how classroom design affects attention, why particular children behave inappropriately at certain times, and where best to seat a child based on his or her learning style or other needs. Occupational therapy may be recommended for an individual student for reasons that might be affecting his or learning or behavior, such as motor skills, cognitive processing, visual or perceptual problems, mental health concerns, difficulties staying on task, disorganization, or inappropriate sensory responses.
Accessing school-based occupational therapy is fairly straightforward, but it is the school team who makes the decision of whether or not a student requires occupational therapy. Not every student needs occupational therapy, even if the student has a disability. Those who do may have problems that the teacher can address after consulting with an occupational therapy practitioner and modifying their teaching technique or the environment for the entire class.
- Source: American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.
Dr. Sharon Prichard
The physical therapist performs therapeutic interventions, including compensation, remediation and prevention strategies and adaptations, focusing on functional mobility and safe, efficient access and participation in activities and routines in natural learning environments. Physical therapists work closely with parents and school team members to help promote a child’s functional motor performance in school settings. They are skilled at administering and interpreting a variety of screening instruments and measurement tools to best develop and coordinate effective physical therapy interventions within the total school program. If children are in need of adaptations within the school environment, physical therapists will help facilitate student access and participation in the educational program. Therapists are trained to select, modify, and customize adaptive equipment and assistive technology and serve as a resource person for school personnel and families.
- Source - American Physical Therapy Association
The Washington Township School District has skilled professionals on staff who provided physical therapy to students based on the children's Indivdualized Education Plans (IEPs).
Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)
The primary role of an ABA Therapists is to teach play, communication, self-help and academic skills to children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. An ABA Therapist works as part of a team, alongside the family and other therapists, and is supervised and trained by an ABA Program Supervisor.
The ABA Therapist works one-on-one with the child. Therapy can take place within the home however, as the child grows and develops, the sessions can take place elsewhere. For example, at school, shopping centres, playgrounds etc.
Moving the therapy outside of the home environment is an important part of the child's education, as s/he needs to be able to generalise the skills developed within the ABA program to other environments, other people and to be able to cope with the distractions encountered in the outside world.
- Source - Autism Behavioral Intervention Association
The Washington Township School District has skilled professionals on staff who provide ABA therapies to students based on the children's Indivdualized Education Plans (IEPs). Tami Stricchiola (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) and Lauren Byrne (Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst) provide support to both therapists, teacher aides, and teaching faculty.