Barbara C. Wilson
The Barbara C. Wilson Preschool serves 15 classrooms of children with a variety of developmental needs including those with autism spectrum disorder, pervasive developmental disorder, speech and language disorder and other developmental issues.
The educational and therapy treatment programs address the development of cognitive, language, sensory-motor and daily living skills. In addition, the program utilizes a school wide behavior support system to promote positive behavior and social development of all children. Classroom environments are adapted through the use of visual supports and augmentative communication systems in order to meet children’s individual learning styles. Research-based curricula are used in the school to support the children’s IEP goals and objectives.
The school provides a number of classroom options to meet the differing needs of the children. Self-contained class sizes of 6:1:2, 8:1:2, 10:1:2, and 12:1:2 are offered. Each class is staff by a master’s level, New York State certified special education teacher and 2 certified teaching assistants.
The program operates using a “team” approach. Each classroom is staffed by a multidisciplinary team, which includes the teacher and assistants, speech/language pathologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, psychologist and social worker. Teams meet weekly to review the children’s programming. All members are aware of each other’s goals and objectives so that children benefit from a learning environment that addresses the whole child.
The school encourages parent participation. We offer workshops and support groups and strongly encourage parent visits to the classroom and therapy sessions. In addition, an active and vibrant Parent Association provides educational and fun activities, that support our curriculum, for children and parents.
The Department of Education is dedicated to providing a developmentally appropriate approach to learning. The classroom curriculum is driven by each child’s individual educational plan (I.E.P) and the New York State Learning Standards while supporting development in language, social, cognitive, emotional and physical domains. Collaborative planning takes place among all disciplines in order to adapt the classroom environment and determine instructional strategies and methods that will meet the children’s individual needs across all developmental domains.
Classroom instruction is guided by the premise that young children learn through meaningful experiential activities. Through the use of researched based curricula, specifically the STAR (Strategies for Teaching based on Autism Research) and Creative Curriculum, instructional activities and classroom planning focus on development and functional use of language and concepts and promote active learning. Activities, adaptive materials, strategies and methods are developed by an integrated team using the STAR and Creative Curriculum as a guideline in order to support each child’s developmental needs.
The related services of speech/language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychological counseling and parent training are provided in accordance with the child’s Individual Education Program (I.E.P.). Related services are provided in any number of ways: individually or in small groups, in the therapist’s office or within the classroom environment. While some children require individual services in a therapists office for the acquisition of skills, group and push-in services are also at times crucial for the acquisition and generalization of skills.
Presented by OPWDD Family Support Services
Presenter: Rebecca Kammerer, SleepCadets