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Instructional Support Service Descriptions

Philosophy of Service
The OCDE Special Education program strongly believes in the collaborative service model. This model emphasizes the provision of instruction by both classroom staff and support service specialists within the classroom settings to the greatest extent possible.  We strongly believe that this model provides positive and ongoing training opportunities for classroom staff, which translates to a more consistent provision of instruction throughout each student’s school day. We know that the benefits of collaborative instruction are supported by research and benefit:

1.    Improved professional and problem-solving skills for teachers,
2.    Modified teacher attitudes regarding student’s problems,
3.    Greater understanding of student’s problems by teachers,
4.    Generalization of consultation effects to other students in the same classroom,
5.    Reduced referral rates, and
6.    Gains in Long-term academic performance

OCDE employs a full array of trained specialists to provide program support, consultation and direct service for students with special needs. Typical support personnel may include, but are not limited to the following:

Adapted Physical Education (APE)

Adult Transition Specialists

Assistive Technology Specialists provide district wide coordination, training and technical support for the implementation of approved augmentative and assistive technology equipment. They provide for the functional analysis of the student’s needs for assistive technology; selecting, designing, fitting, customizing or repairing appropriate devices; coordinating services with assistive technology devices; and training or technical assistance for students with a disability, the student’s family, individuals providing education, and employers.

Audiologist consults with and assists staff who serve deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the Special Schools program; to plan programs, coordinate resources and evaluate the effectiveness of the amplification needs and equipment; to provide consultation services regarding acoustic treatment of rooms, home training programs and coordination of educational services; to participate in staff and program development related to the special methods and approaches of providing appropriate educational programs for deaf and hard of hearing individuals; and to provide aural rehabilitation and habilitation with individual pupils of groups and support for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the classroom.

Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTA) provide occupational therapy treatment to students under the supervision of the registered Occupational Therapist (OTR).   Their role is to treat students with physical disabilities and report on the student’s progress in attaining identified goals and objectives.

Occupational Therapists

Orientation and Mobility Specialists provide direct service and consultation in techniques to enable visually impaired students to achieve optimum level of independent travel.  They provide orientation and mobility assessments, low vision evaluations, concept development; basic mobility techniques, such as sighted guide, trailing, and cane skills; functional use of residual vision; residential travel skills, such as cardinal directions and street crossings; business travel skills, such as techniques to cross intersections controlled by traffic signals and store travel; and the use of public transportation.

Paraeducators provide instructional assistance to the classroom teacher within the classroom setting.  Paraeducators are trained in all aspects of the instructional program, including a wide variety of instructional methodologies, behavior management, and data collection. Responsibilities may include:  providing direct and small group instruction, data collection, and monitoring student behavior, performing clerical duties, and assisting with student personal care needs.

Physical Therapists

Principal is the instructional leader of his/her assigned school site(s).  The primary duties of the principal are to manage, supervise, plan and coordinate the activities and operations of the school site; to coordinate assigned activities with other schools, outside agencies and the general public; and to provide highly responsible and complex staff assistance to the Director, Special Schools and Programs.  Duties also include supervision and evaluation of staff, curriculum development, development and monitoring of budget, and acting as case manager/administrator of student IEP’s.

Program Specialist - Autism provides observation, consultation, and assists special education staff at the school district level; to plan programs, coordinate curricular resources, and evaluate effectiveness of programs for students with autism; and to participate in staff and program development related to the special methods and approaches of providing special education services.

School Nurses assist in the understanding and facilitation of the health and developmental needs of a student. They provide consultation, training and support to staff specific to a student’s health needs and/or specialized physical health care services, as prescribed by a physician, which are necessary during the school day to enable a student to attend school. Specialized physical health may include, but are not limited to suctioning, oxygen administration, gastrostomy feeding, insulin administration and glucose testing.

School Psychologists assist in the identification of intellectual, social, and emotional needs of students. They provide consultation and support to families and staff regarding behavior and conditions related to learning.  Provide consultation and support to staff and/or specialized instructional support for students designed to promote lasting, positive changes in the student’s behavior resulting in greater access to a variety of community settings, social contacts, public events and placement in the least restrictive environment. They plan behavior programs to meet the special needs of students as indicated in the IEP. School psychologists often serve as a facilitator or administrative designee during an IEP meeting and are trained as Behavior Intervention Case Managers (BICM).

Special Day Class Teachers (Educational Specialist) provide intensive instruction and services to students in self-contained special education classrooms when the nature or severity of the disability precludes the student’s participation in the general education classroom for a majority of the school day. Special education teachers may also provide consultation and support to general education staff and/or part-time instruction to students with intensive special education needs.
Speech and Language Pathologists (SLP)

Speech and Language Pathologist Assistants (SLPA) implements IEP goals and provides speech and language services under the supervision of a credentialed Speech and Language Pathologist.  The SLPA has a professional license issued by the State of California Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Board.

Vision Specialists provide consultation and support to staff and/or specialized instructional support for students with visual impairments. They provide functional vision assessments and curriculum modifications necessary to meet the student’s educational needs: including Braille, large type and aural media; instruction in areas of need; concept development and academic skills; communication skills; and social, emotional, career, vocational and independent living skills.