The Trumbull County Educational Service Center, in cooperation with the 20 Trumbull County school districts and the Trumbull County Board of Developmental Disabilities, has developed a transitional program to serve students with autism and related communication delays whose needs are not fully addressed in public school buildings. In recognition of the value of early intervention, TCESC has developed a preschool classroom dedicated to serving preschool children with autism spectrum disorder.
- The transitional program helps students with behavior and/or sensory difficulties positively interact with others. It also helps the student progress toward the achievement of his/her Individualized Educational Program (IEP) goals. The program develops and implements educational methods that allow students with autism to be successful in the least restrictive environment.
If the autistic students' IEP team feels that he or she needs alternative instructional methods or additional services to achieve the IEP goals, the student is referred to the TCESC Autism Consultation Team. This team, which consists of a classroom teacher, occupational therapists, speech pathologist and school psychologist, works with the student's teacher, service providers, building administrator and/or parents to develop solutions to problems that impede progress.
A referral packet must be completed before the consultation process begins. Upon review of the referral packet, a consultation team member visits the classroom to observe and discuss items such as reasons for the consult, past interventions, behavioral history, and current programming. Next a meeting is arranged with the student's team to discuss the observation and available choices.
- The consultation helps the student's IEP team to become skilled in techniques that may allow student progression in the current environment. If the IEP team determines that the student's current placement does not provide the structures and supports necessary for progress, placement in the transitional program is considered.
The transitional program offers structured teaching methods, a functional-based curriculum, community-based social interaction, high-frequency fulfillment of sensory needs, and small staff-to-student ratio. The class develops visual supports, such as individualized schedules, work systems, work tasks and communication boards.
- The facility that housed the program features a therapy room, a swimming pool, gym and exercise equipment, living skills room, and transportation for community based instruction.