Occupational Therapist (OT):
Occupational therapy looks at the strengths, limitations, and potential of each child, and then helps the child reach that potential through therapeutic application of activity and adaptation of the environment to function in the community. At Chaplin Elementary school, we employ a COTA. The Occupational Therapist works with identified students in conjunction with their classroom teacher, in small groups, and/or in a one-on-one setting.
Physical Therapist (PT):
School physical therapy focuses 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 throughout the school and to participate in classroom activities. Physical therapy interventions are designed to enable the student to travel throughout the school environment; participate in classroom activities; maintain and change positions in the classroom; as well as manage stairs, restrooms, and the cafeteria. Physical Therapists work with individual children with disabilities to improve function, such as gross motor skills, coordination and balance. They work with children with disabilities as well as children with developmental delays. Physical therapists also work with groups of children either alone or in conjunction with physical education teachers to improve general gross motor skills. School systems utilize physical therapists to provide educational programs to student’s parents and teachers in areas such as backpack choice/use and back health, dietary issues affecting bone health, stretching and warm-up for physical activity.
School Social Worker:
Mrs. Partyka provides social work service to students and parents. The overall goal of social work service focuses on increasing student strengths, preventing problems, and decreasing problem areas. Direct social work service is provided to students through individual, small group, and classroom instruction. In doing so, students will have the opportunity to demonstrate positive behavior change, increase educational achievement, develop an improved self-image, and improve relationships. Direct social work service is provided to parents by assisting parents in the development of strategies for increasing positive changes in their child.
Mrs. Cilley works in classrooms as well as in a shared resource room with students in preschool through third grade. Mrs. Cilley’s primary teaching responsibilities include providing specialized instruction to children who are identified with a variety of disabilities. She also works with these students, as well as those who are not identified, in the general education setting. Additionally, Mrs. Cilley co-teaches with related service personnel in small groups to meet a variety of academic, social, behavioral, and speech/language related needs.
Mrs. Ecsedy works with students in grades four through six. She co-teaches reading and writing with several teachers as well as serving as a support teacher in other classrooms. This inclusive model provides students who are identified with disabilities opportunities to access the general education curriculum with the necessary accommodations and/or modifications needed to be successful. Students who are not identified with disabilities also benefit from this teaching approach. Pullout services are also provided for students requiring specialized programs in spelling.
Both Mrs. Ecsedy and Mrs. Cilley administer a variety of standardized and criterion referenced assessments as well as curriculum-based assessments to assist in developing goals and objectives. They work with the general education teachers and related service personnel in developing Individual Education Programs so that students with special education identifications can be successful with the general education curriculum.
They have sought professional development opportunities in the areas of inclusive schooling, mentoring new teachers, changes with Connecticut Mastery Testing, reading and comprehension strategies, writing development, and assessment. They have also provided inservice training for the teachers at Chaplin Elementary School with the other special education team members pertaining to the procedures and processes for special education including speech and language, 504, and the Child Study Team.
Speech & Language Pathologist (SLP):
In the public school setting, a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) assesses, diagnoses and treats students with various speech and language disorders. Additionally, the SLP services students with Auditory Processing Disorders and may monitor students with hearing issues. Speech is comprised of articulation, voice and fluency, while language is comprised of the expression & understanding of content (vocabulary), form (syntax/morphology/grammar) and social use of language. Nowadays, SLP’s “push in” to classrooms to service students in most language areas. Within the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten population, you may see SLP’s servicing students during classroom center times or providing phonemic awareness training, along with the regular education teacher and/or reading specialist. Also, it is more common to see a SLP co-teaching a lesson with a regular education teacher or independently teaching a language-arts lesson in a regular education classroom containing students on his/her caseload.