The Seven Steps to Success
The Communication Department includes Speech-Language Pathologists, Play and Social Skills Specialists, and an Assistive Technology Specialist. Speech and Language Therapy goals are to develop and enhance communication skills so that students may successfully engage and participate in interactions across a variety of settings. Therapists use a total communication approach to support a student’s receptive, expressive and pragmatic language development including speech, sign language, gestures, facial expressions, picture symbols, written words, and voice output devices. Play and Social Skills goals are to integrate and support the cognitive, language, and motor skills necessary for successful social interactions, while providing a release for stress and the opportunity for the development of leisure interests.
2. Music Therapy
Music Therapy is a fun, non-threatening and interactive way to develop each student’s communication, cognitive skills, and social interactions through song-writing, instrument playing, and movement while enhancing the development of self-expression, physical coordination, and auditory perception. Giant Steps’ highly skilled music therapists address each child’s unique challenges through a variety of individualized music experiences including singing and improvisation, while weaving aspects of other therapies into the interaction as well.
3. Occupational and Physical Therapy
Occupational Therapy goals are to facilitate improved sensory regulation and organization through appropriate sensory input and motor challenges, and to help each student develop more adaptive responses, impulse control, and a heightened awareness of self-modulating strategies. Physical Therapy goals are to support the student’s physical development to allow them to access their school, community, and home environments to the greatest extent possible. A variety of strategies are used to promote independence in both the school and community settings. Students also have the opportunity to participate in our Therapeutic Horseback Riding Program.
The Academic program for each student is highly individualized, implemented under the direction of certified Special Education Teachers. Academic programs are driven by ongoing assessment and the interests of students. Curriculum includes functional skills, Reading, Math and all age appropriate academic subjects. A variety of teaching techniques are used,incorporating specific motivational variables such as choice, interspersal of maintenance tasks, and natural reinforcers. Creativity and self expression is encouraged by our Art teacher who is dually certified in Special Education. Fitness, athletic skills and fun are provided in Gym, by our Adaptive Physical Education Teacher. Each student is assigned a one to one Instructional Assistant, who attends all academic and therapy sessions, insuring integration and generalization of skills across domains.
5. Activities Of Daily Living
The overall goal for the Activities of Daily Living (ADL) program is to provide each student with skills necessary to take care of his or her own needs in order to function as independently as possible in a variety of environments including home, school, and the community. We help students develop skills using natural contexts. Areas addressed include toileting, mealtime, dressing, personal care, household jobs, community participation, safety awareness, and pre-vocational activities.
6. Vocational Training Program
Vocational Training Program goals are to provide students with a foundation of work skills necessary to help them succeed in life after school. A multi-disciplinary approach including academic, therapeutic, social, and behavioral objectives is blended to create a vocational program based on each student’s individual strengths, interests, and abilities.
7. Student Support
Behavior Specialists provide ongoing and data driven analysis of student behavior addressing the medical, sensory, emotional, movement, and communicative function of behavior. Student behavioral support plans provide strategies to promote physical and emotional well being, independence, self reliance, and developmental growth. Students are supported with a full-time nurse skilled in assessment of students who have difficulty communicating. Families are encouraged to become fully involved in their child’s program through daily communication journals, attendance at team meetings, parent training, and support groups. Margaret L. Bauman, MD, is our consulting neurologist.
For more information about Giant Steps please don’t hesitate to Contact Us.