Occupational Therapists provide evaluation, consultation and programming for students who have problems in the areas of fine motor coordination, visual perception and discrimination, hand-eye coordination, etc. A physician's prescription is required for this service.Physical Therapists provide service to students who have orthopedic neuro-muscular problems such as cerebral palsy. Prescriptions for specific treatment plans are usually written by an orthopedic surgeon, but may be written by a medical doctor.School Psychologists are highly trained in evaluation and diagnosis of learning and behavioral problems. The goal of psychological services is to provide information on a student's academic and emotional status to plan for the best possible education. Psychologists administer a variety of individual psychological and educational tests, consult with teachers on appropriate teaching techniques, and counsel students.School Social Workers are a part of the total educational team of a school working to provide the best educational experience for all pupils. As an integral part of this team, school social work services provide counseling to students and families, serve as liaison between home, school and community agencies, and prepare social histories as a part of the assessment process for children reviewed by the Committee on Special Education. School Social Workers encourage early identification of potential problematic situations to prevent social/emotional problems from intensifying, thus assuring optimum academic and social benefits for all students in the education setting.Speech therapy may be provided to students who are not processed through the Committee on Special Education. This service is eligible for BOCES aid, but not high cost aid.A licensed Speech-Language Pathologist is provided to school districts as a consultant to certified teachers of speech and hearing impaired. The pathologist reviews the work of the speech teacher and is available for consultation by other teachers and parents. This arrangement creates eligibility for the district to apply for Medicaid reimbursement.Speech therapy services are widely utilized by schools. Therapists deal with a broad range of problems from language delays to auditory processing problems, as well as traditional stuttering and articulative problems. Many are actively involved as resource persons to primary level classroom teachers helping with their language programs, and may work with a whole class within the classroom. Usually, however, the therapist works with children individually or in groups not exceeding three students.
Children receiving services are classified as either severely speech/language impaired, requiring thirty minutes per day, five days per week, or other speech language impaired, requiring service two or three days per week, for twenty or thirty minutes per session. Severely speech/language impaired children are those whose speech is unintelligible 50% or more of the time, or who are two or more years delayed in language as measured by one or more standardized tests. Other speech impaired children are those whose speech/language problems are such as to interfere with their learning in the classroom. These children may have moderate speech defects or lack the ability to adequately express themselves orally.
Speech and language problems should not be confused with retardation or other handicaps. Many "normal" children have speech and language problems. These problems should be identified early and remediated by a therapist so that the problem will not interfere with the child's academic growth.The transition specialist assists districts in addressing the needs of students requiring a transition plan. A certified special education teacher works with a student on developing the transition plan, arranging the school to work transitions, connecting with other service agencies and coordinating vocational assessments.