Teachers of the Deaf and Students with Hearing Loss
Teachers of the Deaf provide direct instruction and consultative services to students (Pre K-12) diagnosed with varying degrees of hearing loss. Depending on student need, the Teachers of the Deaf provide services utilizing aural/oral methods, sign language, and/or cochlear implant therapies. Services are individualized to each student's specific needs based on degree of hearing loss, mode of communication, and mainstream academic needs. These services include diagnostic testing, intense language based instruction, auditory therapy, speech production, speech reading, specialized pre-teaching and post-teaching, as well as ongoing consultation with parents and general education classroom teachers. Additional services include classroom amplification equipment, oral and sign language interpreting, accommodations/modifications in the mainstream, and consultation with audiologists and other specialists.
School psychologists provide a broad range of services to schools, students and families to support positive educational outcomes. Drawing on training in psychology and education they engage in collaborative problem solving with educators and parents to accomplish educational goals. Services include prevention and intervention planning, as well as counseling, consultation, and assessment.
School Social Workers
The WHPS Social Workers are clinicians with expertise in child and family development and an understanding of diverse cultural and social systems. Their mission is to ensure the social and emotional well-being of all students in order for them to achieve success in the educational environment and in the community. They accomplish this by providing counseling, consultation and advocacy in collaboration with school staff, families and community resources.
The programs of Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy are provided to mandated students. The therapist provides supportive and therapeutic services, as well as assistance through mechanized means, to students with varied physical and large and fine motor disabilities. They also include supportive services to regular classroom teachers.
Speech and Language
Speech and language pathologists (SLPs) provide a variety of therapeutic services to eligible students in preschool through 12th grade. Students diagnosed with speech, language and communication disorders are provided with direct therapy in individual, small group and/or classroom settings.
Speech and language pathologists also work closely with parents and teachers in the diagnosis of speech and language disorders, academic and therapeutic planning and implementation of services. They also play a consultative role for parents and educators at all stages of the process: early intervention, pre-referral, diagnosis, and therapy. The provision of services varies based upon the individual needs of the mandated students but each school within the district is covered by one or more speech language pathologists to meet the needs of the mandated students in that school.
Students identified with language impairments (LI) receive speech and language therapy from their speech and language therapists in their neighborhood school. They often receive additional instructional support from their special education resource teacher given the integrated nature of their language and learning needs. Qualified Speech and Language Therapists provide coordinated services with the English speakers of other languages (ESOL) staff to conduct evaluations. Students identified with language impairments (LI) receive speech and language therapy from their speech and language therapists in their neighborhood school. They often receive additional instructional support from their special education resource teacher given the integrated nature of their language and learning needs.
Assistive Technology Consultation
Assistive Technology Services are provided to special education students to facilitate the student's achievement and access to the general education classroom within the least restrictive environment. The PPT determines what services are appropriate for individual students. West Hartford has an Assistive Technology Consultant and an Assistive Technology Resource Team that provides consultation and support services to all levels (pre-K-12) and all disability categories.
Assistive technology is defined as any device, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities. Assistive technology devices range from simple (low technology) through mid- technology tools like tape recorders, calculators, and switch -operated toys to the most sophisticated and cutting edge tools (high technology) which are purchased and/or customized. Examples of low- tech devices include straws or Velcro; high tech devices include computers or motorized wheelchairs.
Behavioral Support Services
Behavior services are provided throughout the district by West Hartford's Behavioral Specialists. A referral procedure is initiated with a record review, visits and observations, contact with parents, and a consultation with the student's general education teacher and special education support staff. Specific intervention may be provided, documented and monitored. The consultant will participate in strategies, SATs, 504 meetings and PPTs as needed. In addition, the district employs four full time Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA). District BCBAs support students and staff through consultation, behavior analysis, development of behavior support plans, and staff training.
Autism Consultation Services are provided by the district's Autism Consultant to students in our ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) programs, in the Special Needs programs, as well as to students with ASD who have been placed in their neighborhood school. Consultative services are provided to the general education teacher, the special education teacher, the paraprofessional, support staff and the parent.
The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) is a semi-structured assessment of communication, social interaction, and play (or imaginative use of materials) for individuals suspected of having autism or other pervasive developmental disorders. The ADOS team is comprised of trained teachers and staff who provide school based evaluation and diagnosis of students who exhibit behaviors consistent with autism spectrum disorders.
The district utilizes the services of a consulting Psychiatrist on a weekly basis throughout the school year. Students are referred through the PPT, 504 committee or school staff. Services include consultation with parents and staff, interview with students, and recommendations for further treatment.
The district has two Vocational/Transitional Coordinators. The coordinators play an integral part in facilitating and guiding the transition planning process, the career education preparation and the vocational field experiences. They are also extremely knowledgeable of the post graduation adult services available to students with disabilities. The coordinators work individually and in small groups/classes to assist students in identifying their strengths, weaknesses, interests and preferences as they relate to future vocational and educational options. Based on student goals, the coordinator can provide a wide variety of vocational experiences, from unpaid internships to paid employment. Students with special needs may also be assigned to the student activity center or school-based job placements for vocational training. The coordinator is also able to assist in completing job applications, resume development, and the development of self-advocacy skills. Assistance is also provided to students and their families as they transition from West Hartford Public Schools by developing links with appropriate education programs, training schools and state agencies.
The School Counseling Program is developmental by design with counselors focusing on the needs, interest and issues related to the various stages of student growth in grades 6-12 in three domains: academic (learning to learn), personal/social (learning to live) and career/vocational (learning to earn). School Counselors strive to provide all students with the skills necessary to become productive and healthy citizens through individual meetings, classroom lessons, parent conferences and evening programs. Their roles also include providing consultative services to parents, teachers and administrators.
School Nurses promote wellness and the prevention and control of disease. They provide assessment and treatment of illness, provide health care treatment, implement health care plans, provide ongoing education for students with chronic health conditions, and first aid for injuries; vision, hearing and postural screenings; assist with physical assessments for certain grades and for sports; interpret medical or physical conditions of students to staff; administer and/or supervise the administration of medication in school under a physician's order; maintain health records; coordinate the emergency teams in each school, and obtain comprehensive health histories. A nurse supervisor is employed to provide direct clinical supervision.
Under the direction of the school medical advisor, 23 school nurses provide services to all students. Each building, including the Early Learning Center, has its own nurse. A team of nurses with CPR instructor credentials recertify building emergency teams in CPR/AED. The part-time services of a psychiatrist, as well as physicians for sports physicals are also provided.
The West Hartford Special Education Parent Teacher Organization (SEPTO) is a district- wide PTO (Pre-K to Post Secondary Program) that focuses on special education needs and issues in West Hartford. Its mission is to educate, advocate and network. SEPTO meetings provide an opportunity for parents to gather information and gain support. SEPTO provides a forum for parents and educators to work together to enhance educational programs for children with disabilities.
Information about membership, meetings, resources, etc. can be gathered at the SEPTO website: http://whsepto.org/