Exceptional Students (Special Education)
The Van Buren School District (VBSD) ensures that all children with disabilities, ages 3 to 21 and within district jurisdiction, are provided special education services. The district carries out procedures to identify, evaluate, locate and provide necessary services.
Special services to students with disabilities are provided in a variety of settings and placements. Settings range from a very mild provision of services such as inclusion, indirect or itinerant services to the most structured hospital/homebound setting. Services and placement are determined by a student's programming committee. VBSD strives to ensure all buildings and facilities are accessible and usable for all students according to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) specifications.
The VBSD preschool, initiated in 1991, consists of two classroom teachers, two instructional assistants, and a speech pathologist. Services are provided both on campus and at designated off campus sites. Regulation by the Arkansas Department of Human Services for disability identification are followed with their licensure.
In order to assess special education services, a referral may be made by a student's teacher, other school or district educational personnel, parent, or other individuals with relevant knowledge concerning the child. A written referral should be made to the school principal. An appropriate conference will be scheduled. To determine that a student is in need of specialized educational services, the student must be formally evaluated. With parental permission, an evaluation will be completed to determine the existence of an eligible disabling condition.
Physical Therapy in the school setting is very different than in the clinical rehabilitation setting. The purpose of physical therapy in the school setting is to provide support for students so they may more fully participate in the curriculum and the school day routine. School based therapy is intended to meet the functional needs of students as it applies to the student’s ability to learn by removing barriers. The focus is the impact that the physical disability has on classroom performance rather than on the disability itself. Physical therapy addresses gross motor, gait and mobility, balance and postural support issues.
Physical therapy is considered a related service. It must have a relationship to the student’s educational performance. Physical Therapists assist in the development of skills to increase the independence of the student within the educational environments. The educational environments include, but are not limited to, classrooms, playgrounds, cafeterias, transportation, community mobility, vocational settings and fieldtrips.
. Definition of Occupational Therapy
Occupational Therapy in the school setting is very different than in the clinical rehabilitation setting. The purpose of occupational therapy in the school setting is to provide support for students so they may more fully participate in the curriculum and the school day routine. School based therapy is intended to meet the functional needs of students as it applies to the student’s ability to learn by removing barriers. Occupational therapy addresses fine motor, sensory motor and visual perceptual skills.
Occupational therapy is considered a related service and must have a relationship to the student’s educational performance.
Definition of Speech Therapy
Speech language pathologists are professionals who are trained to prevent, identify, assess, evaluate, refer, provide intervention for and counsel persons with, or at risk, for articulation, fluency, voice, language, oral and written communication, swallowing and related disabilities. The speech pathologist also counsels and educates families and other professionals about these disorders and their treatment. The school based speech language pathologist addresses communication and related disorders that effect functional skills, success in classroom activities, social interaction, literacy and learning.
In the public schools, speech language pathology is both a related service and a type of special education. As arelated service, speech language therapy is seen as a developmental, corrective or other supportive service which may be required to assist a student with a disability to benefit from special education. When considered asspecial education, speech therapy services consists of specific and individually designed instruction, at no cost to the parents, to meet the unique needs of a student with a disability. Federal and state eligibility criteria are used to determine if a student qualifies for speech language or other related services
Differences Between School Based and Non-School Based Services
The determination of when therapy services are educationally relevant is complex.
- School based therapy is part of a student’s total education program. Specific pre-academic/academic, social/emotional and vocational skills are identified as being adversely affected by deficits in communication and/or physical abilities when determining eligibility for school based services. Non-school based therapy is based on the specific disability of the child and is not linked to the education program.
- School based therapy involves teaming and collaboration when making recommendations and decisions. Input from all team members are used to develop the student’s educational plan (IEP). Non-school based therapists make unilateral recommendations based on clinical evaluations to determine their therapy plan.
- The primary role of school based therapists is to assist students in achieving success in the classroom environment. Non-school based therapists do not have these criteria imposed on their recommendations for intervention.
Delivery of Therapy Services in the Public School Setting
- Therapy services are provided to enhance and facilitate the student’s access to the general curriculum.
- Services are provided in the student’s educational routine and in the least restrictive environment consistent which the student’s individual needs.
- A team approach is used to provide services when developing and implementing the Individual Education Plan (IEP).
- A variety of delivery models are used to provide services. These can include direct intervention, monitoring, and consulting.
- A student’s need for services may vary over time and are reviewed annually.
Special Education Supervisor, Early Childhood Coordinator and Section 504 Coordinator.
2221 Pointer Trail East
Van Buren, AR 72956