Therapeutic and Orientation & Mobility Services Department
Occupational, Physical, and Speech Therapy, Orientation & Mobility, and Audiology, services at Overbrook School for the Blind assist students to perform at their highest level of ability in all educational settings. The purpose of all these specialized services is to enhance student potential for learning by increasing a student’s active participation in classroom and school activities.
The specialized services of our department are:
Based on an individualized student evaluation
Developed in concert with the student, family & the entire educational team Focus on functional goals & outcomes
Defined in the student’s IEP
The personalized goals and the amount of each service are based on:
- A student’s developmental or functional needs
- Need for adaptive or support devices for environmental access & communication
- Pre and post graduation plans.
Services are delivered in a variety of formats and can include:
Individual or group instruction
Staff training on individualized student intervention plans
Staff training on use of adaptive equipment
Consultative service to staff and or family
Our specialists encourage:
Team member collaboration & communication
Interaction and communication with community medical care specialists
Specialty Service Descriptions
The Occupational Therapist (OT) may offer evaluation & intervention in the following areas: sensory processing and self awareness, attention and readiness for learning, gross and fine motor performance, leisure/recreation skill, activities of daily living, social skills, pre-work, vocational and transition requirements, and personal management including organization of self and materials in school and work environments.
OT participates in selection and adaptation of positioning, low vision, augmentative, adaptive, and customized daily living equipment. This may include seating and work surface systems, toys, technology, and objects/tools used in conjunction with self-care, apartment living, communication, and employment.
OT may also be involved with recommending, ordering, or fabrication of hand or upper extremity splints and assorted environmental adaptations. The later relate to promoting improved access to materials in all school and work related environments.
The Physical Therapist may assess and intervene in regard to gross motor, sensory motor, developmental, ambulatory, and postural needs as they relate to functional participation in the school environment. PT may help in any one or more of the following areas: sensory processing techniques, training to improve muscle strength, balance, coordination, endurance, gait training to improve skill and safety on stairs and various surfaces, postural integrity and control, wheelchair mobility, and power mobility.
Physical Therapists determine the need and type of adaptive equipment a student requires. This can include but is not limited to selection of correct chair and table heig, adaptive seating, standers, and ambulation assist devices.
Speech and Language Therapy
The Speech and Language Therapist evaluates a student’s ability to communicate and may offer programming to promote language development, receptive and expressive language, pragmatics and conversational skills. Oral motor skills for articulation and feeding are evaluated and may be addressed by the therapist.
The speech therapist works closely with the audiologist or hearing therapist to evaluate and assist students with hearing loss. Our speech therapists check student hearing in conjunction with the school nurse. For students with deaf-blindness, the therapist works with student, family and teachers to develop a communication method that will work for that child. This may include American Sign Language, gesture systems, object reference systems or picture schedules.
The speech therapist functions as part of a team with PT, OT, teacher and family to determine if Augmentative Communication devices may assist a student. The therapist may work with a lending company to try a variety of devices with a student. The speech therapist sets up the communication device and works with teaching staff to insure it meets the student’s needs and communication opportunities.
The school Audiologist provides consultative services to each educational team responsible for a student with a hearing impairment. The Audiologist may provide direct services to monitor the condition of hearing aids and other hearing assistive devices, and when appropriate makes individual equipment recommendations and referrals. The Audiologist may also participate in IEP meetings, and act as liaison with a students' health care providers.
The Audiologist also provides consultation to OSB Health Services staff and the Speech Therapists involved in completing hearing screenings. The Audiologist may assist in screening difficult to test students, review test results, and make recommendations for follow up.
The Audiologist provides in-service training for school staff regarding hearing loss, speech perception, hearing equipment, classroom acoustics, and other related subjects.
Orientation & Mobility
Orientation and Mobility (OM) staff evaluate the visually impaired students awareness and understanding of their position in space as well as their ability to protect themselves and or direct a part or their entire body to a specific location/s in the environment.
OM staff teach students to use protective techniques; siged guide; trailing skills; sensory skills; orientation skills; traditional cane techniques as well as use of a wide assortment of alternative mobility devices. They may recommend commercial travel tools and in some cases adapt or design and create mobility travel aids. OM staff may be involved in power wheelchair mobility training.
O&M instruction may be offered individually or in small group formats within classrooms on and about campus, and also in residential, business, and metropolitan areas. When indicated the OM teacher instructs students to use public transportation and specialty transit services.
STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES
Program Coordinator: Roseann McLaughlin firstname.lastname@example.org
Student Support Services is comprised of Nursing, Nutrition, Case Management, Psychology and Psychiatry
- Roseann McLaughlin, Coordinator
- Kathy Gliem, morning residential and school nurse
- Joanne Hawkins, day school nurse
- Fern Strunk, evening residential nurse
Our staff of Registered Nurses is on duty to meet the student’s routine and emergency needs from 7am to 9pm during the school year.
Darren Levin, School Psychologist
School psychology services include educational testing, crisis intervention, ongoing counseling, behavioral assessment and management
Cathy D’Orazio, Registered Dietician and Nutritionist
School nutrition services include consultation with the development of the student monthly menu, wellness initiatives and consultation with the staff and students regarding nutritional concerns.
Case management services are contracted through Intervention Associates.Their team of social workers assist family and students who need help with medical or social issues. This service is available to all families who feel they need assistance by calling Roseann McLaughlin at extension 231.
Joanne Minerva, MD , Consulting Pediatric Psychiatrist
Psychiatric consultant available to liason with community mental health services to better serve our students in the school setting.