ACT 18: Moderate Cognitive Impaired (MOCI) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Program

MOCI PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY

Webster Elementary School's Primary / Intermediate Program is funded by Wayne County Regional Educational Service Agency (WCRESA). The students attending Webster’s Primary / Intermediate Program come from many school districts, including: Crestwood, Garden City, Inkster, Livonia, Northville, Plymouth / Canton, Redford Union, Romulus, South Redford, Van Buren, Wayne-Westland and Westwood. Our funding is based on the needs of students who have moderate cognitive impairments. Additionally, we look at the following:

• What are the child’s educational needs?
• What is his/her learning style?
• In what environment will he/she flourish?
• Does the curriculum need to be modified?
• What other factors will lead to school success for that child?

All of the students in Webster's Primary / Intermediate Program must be eligible for special education services as Cognitively Impaired. Most fall into the range considered moderately impaired. Based on the needs of the child, some children with severe cognitive impairments attend Webster School. We have some students with the eligibility of Severely Multiply Impaired. Children might have secondary impairments such as Traumatic Brain Injury, Physical, or Health Impairments; Visual, Hearing, or Speech Impairments.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY

Our ASD program takes in 4th and 5th grade students and it started at Webster in the 2012-2013 school year. We currently have two classrooms. There are additional classrooms for the other grades across the district. The students in these classroom have a primary eligibility of ASD (they may have additional secondary eligibility areas). Our ASD program takes in students from Livonia and outside districts. Which outside district would attend our program depends on the age of the student. The level of each of our ASD students can vary widely however, if they are in one of our classrooms, they are a student who requires a self-contained educational environment. Many of our students need additional ancillary support such as speech or occupational therapy. Additionally, we look at the same questions that are listed above with our MoCI students.

CURRICULUM

We recognize that there is only one curriculum-the general education curriculum. However, we also recognize that students in our ACT 18 programs need the general education curriculum modified to meet their individual educational needs. We want to include a delivery model based on best practices and methodology in education today. Currently, general education has shifted to the Common Core Standards. Our teachers use the adapted version of the Common Core Standards called the Essential Elements. The Essential Elements provide the level of accommodation that our students need while exposing them to the “full breath” of the general education curriculum.

It is important for students with disabilities too not only have “functional skills,” but they also need to be culturally literate. Students are handicapped when they are not taught knowledge commonly shared by Americans. For example, if a child has never heard the Aesop Fable, “The Tortoise and the Hare,” he/she may not understand speed controls depicted by those animals. As much as possible, we want our students within the Act 18 Program to share a common core of knowledge with other children across the nation.
Our older students have the opportunity to receive instruction in human growth.

In light of the changing technology, statewide standards and testing, and the higher expectation levels we have for our students, we believe that we must always thoroughly review and update our how the curriculum is assessed and taught.

We do this in many ways, including having representatives on our district and county committees regarding curriculum workshops/committees. We devote many hours of professional development to learning, adapting and creating teaching materials/assessments that provide our students with the best link to the Common Core.

Another important aspect of overall learning is embedding academic and life skills throughout the day. Embedded skills are those skills needed for activities in all life roles. People need communication skills, motor skills, perceptual skills, and social skills for almost everything they do. Also, academic skills such as literacy and math are needed to fully participate in many activities in life. These embedded academic skills, as well as many other skills are taught through meaningful, age-appropriate activities of life. Children can work on counting, reading, speaking, relating to others, and so much more as they shop for a class cooking activity. Math skills, motor skills, and social skills are essentials for bowling. Reading, fine motor skills, and math skills are needed in cutting, sorting, and packaging Campbell Soup labels. These are only a few examples of “Embedded Academic” and other skills taught through meaningful activities of life!

CBI AND FIELD TRIPS

Community-Based Instruction (CBI) and field trips are important parts of the Webster ACT 18 programs. Students under age 7 can go on field trips that support their units of study. Beginning at age 9, the students participate in Community Based Instruction. The places that our Intermediate students participate in can vary from year to year but it always includes activities that will support embedded academic functioning from the curriculum.

THE INTAKE PROCESS

Students can only enter Webster’s Primary / Intermediate Program through the Individualized Educational Planning Team (IEPT) process. The process begins by the student’s home district completing a referral packet to our program which includes their latest IEP and MET. Our team reviews the referral to determine if the students are eligible for our program under the Wayne County entry criteria. If the student meets the criteria, our staff will contact the home district and set up a time to visit the student. Then we will contact the parent and set up a time for them to visit our program. If they are in agreement that Webster’s setting would best suit their child, we set up an IEP to place the student into our program.

SPECIALIZED STAFF

Webster Elementary School has specialized therapy staff members who are in the building full time, or spend several days a week in the building. These include:

• Occupational Therapy (OT)
• Physical Therapy (PT)
• Speech Therapy (ST)
• Augmentative/Alternative Communication (AAC)
• Adaptive Physical Education
• School Social Worker
• School Psychologist

Visually Impaired (VI) and Hearing Impaired (HI) consultants are also available to our students who may need their services. Webster School believes that in most cases, the best place to provide therapy to a student is in the natural environments of the student. Thus, Occupational, Physical, and Speech therapy services are provided in the classroom, gym, outside, in the community, while the child is doing school work, eating, playing, transitioning between places, or any other place / time that makes sense for that particular child. The goal of the related service (therapy) staff is to not only teach the child the skills he/she needs, but also to show the instructional staff how to help the child using skills from the specialty areas. This way the child doesn’t just receive therapy when the therapist is working with the child, but he/she also receives it when other staff members work with him/her.

HOME/SCHOOL COMMUNICATION

Home/School communication is vital to student success. Parents are encouraged to keep in very close contact with their child’s teacher. Webster staff tries to build a solid foundation for communication between the home and school beginning in the early years. All of our students are welcome to participate in any event or program that our school has available. This includes Open House, Curriculum Night and Parent Teacher Conferences as well as any “specialty” experience (like a dance or sock hop!). Additionally, Parents are invited to Evaluation Meetings (REED), Multidisciplinary Evaluation Team meetings (MET) and Individualized Educational Planning Team Meetings (IEPT) or other meetings held concerning their child. We attempt to hold IEPT meetings at a time when parents can be present (before school, after school, during school, etc.). Report Cards are sent home four times a year, the same time as the general education students receive theirs. All of our teachers send home monthly calendars/newsletters so parents can stay informed of what is being worked on with their child at all times.

SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT

A high priority for the Act 18 program is our School Improvement Plan. We attempt to “mirror” the School Improvement Goals that are selected by the general education program that is housed in our building so we can promote one school and one team. We also select a climate goal for our school and incorporate programs that support these goals (such as Positive Behavior Supports or Leader in Me skills). We have many staff members on our school improvement team for all of our programs in the building and we meet monthly to discuss and problem solve the implementation of our goals so we can ensure the highest level of success for our students!