The in-house multi-disciplinary teams at Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing offers a variety of educational support services through specialists to address the needs of our students.
The American Sign Language Specialist serves each student at Horace Mann School through direct instruction, curricula, and assessment. Each student receives ASL assessments annually, as a part of the Dual Language program, to evaluate their language skills. The ASL specialist serves on the Evaluation Unit team, Language and Literacy Teams, and the Instructional Leadership team, to support teachers and create cohesive program aimed towards fluency in ASL. The ASL Specialist also attends all re-evaluation meetings and Elementary students' IEP meetings to work with students on their language and educational outcomes. The ASL Specialist oversees the ASL instruction team through implementation of ASL standards, curricula, and participation in nationwide ASL Literacy competitions. Additional assessment services can be requested, such as Visual Communication and Sign Language Checklist (VCSL), ASL proficiency interview, Kendall Conversation Proficiency Levels, to identify a child's language skills.
The Educational Audiologist provides diagnostic and rehabilitative services. Audiologic evaluations, hearing aid evaluations, aural rehabilitation, maintenance of classroom FM/DM amplification systems, hearing aid clinics, cochlear implant management and monitoring of classroom acoustics are all part of the school's program. Working closely with classroom teachers, implant centers, and hospitals, the Audiologist provides the best services available to meet the needs of each student.
The math coach provides individualized classroom instruction through push in and pull out 1:1, small group, and whole class interventions. Time is also dedicated to developing strong mathematical language skills, flexibility of mind, and strategy discussion. The math coach also meets with teachers weekly to discuss instruction, analyze student data, and develop supplemental curriculum to match the needs of our student population.
Occupational therapists provide services to students with fine motor, oral motor, visual motor, visual perceptual, and sensory integration difficulties. An OT also addresses areas concerning a student's organizational skills, functional mobility, play skill and self-help skills to support a student's performance in the school setting.
Physical Therapists in public schools provide services to children with disabilities that interfere with their educational needs. In a school setting, a major goal of physical therapy is to address gross motor deficits that directly affect a child's ability to participate in the educational process. If a student's ability to participate in the educational process is compromised by a physical disability, then intervention by a physical therapist, as a member of the educational team, may be appropriate. The PT may use a variety of approaches to address motor problems including: consultation to the classroom teacher, positioning and equipment needs, activities to develop balance and coordination training in mobility skills, exercises to improve strength and flexibility to enhance a student's participation in the school environment.
The counselors provide support to enhance students' learning and development in a variety of ways. In addition to individual and group counseling, school counselors offer teacher and parent consulation, health and wellness education, and provide crisis prevention and response. Counseling goals address interpersonal relationships, social-emotional skills, behavior management, and academic motivation. The counselors are also integral members of the Student Support Team.
The school psychologist is responsible for psycho-educational testing as it relates to the development of yearly Individualized Educational Plans and triennial re-evaluations. Assessments include, but are not limited to, cognitive, visual-motor and social-emotional functioning. The School Psychologist, with the classroom teacher and parent, might be a first link in determining other attentional or learning difficulties. As part of the assessment process recommendations for optimal learning approaches are written and referrals can be made for additional support services. The school psychologist also provides counseling as needed and is a member of the school-wide Student Support Team.
The Speech-Language Pathologists at Horace Mann School for the Deaf provide speech and language evaluation and intervention services for students in preschool through age 22. Eligibility for speech-language therapy is based on assessment and a student's individual communication and language needs. Horace Mann SLPs are skilled at working with children who are deaf and hard of hearing, with different degrees of educationally significant hearing loss (mild-moderate to profound) and different degrees of language delay/disorder. The students communicate in American Sign Language and English. The SLPs at Horace Mann School have expertise in auditory skill development, aural rehabilitation, literacy skill development, and assistive technology and augmentative alternative communication devices (AT/AAC). Therapy objectives are selected according to a student's Individualized Educational Plan (IEP). Services are conducted in pullout individual and/or small groups (2-3 students), as well as within the classroom setting/co-teaching with the classroom teacher. Sessions focus on the student's individual IEP goals including: auditory learning, receptive language, expressive language, written language, vocabulary and nuanced language, speech perception ability, articulation skills, sound-based and language-based reading skills, pragmatic/social language, and self-advocacy skills. Activities target IEP objectives and align with developmental patterns of listening, language, speech, cognition, and the learning standards established by the state of Massachusetts.
The vision specialist (TVI) assists classroom teachers in developing strategies and techniques for helping students with visual impairments access the general curriculum. With a combination of direct service and consultation, the specialist facilitates successful inclusion of students in all activities with their sighted peers. Skills related to visual impairment include the use of Braille and assistive devices and technology are part of the program.
Beginning at age 14, transition specialists work with the IEP team (students, families, teachers, other specialists, adult service agencies, etc.) to develop the student’s postsecondary vision based on transition assessments in the areas of education/training, employment, independent living. Transition specialists work with the IEP team to complete the Transition Planning Form, a planning tool used to guide the development of the student’s IEP, to ensure that students are self-determined and prepared to achieve their postsecondary goals.