District 57 Special Education Continuum of Services
Mount Prospect District 57 offers a full continuum of special education services. Special education is instruction and related services provided by special education personnel or by a general education program that has been modified through the use of special education support services, supplementary aids, or other special programming based on students’ individual needs.
District 57 follows the state and federal laws that establish criteria for special education eligibility. The federal government recognizes 14 categories under which children may qualify for special education. These disabilities include: autism, deaf-blindness, deafness, developmental delay, emotional disability, hearing impairment, intellectual disability, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, specific learning disability, speech or language impairment, traumatic brain injury, and visual impairment.
Students who are eligible for special education services under one of the 14 categories may qualify for related services to assist a child with a disability in benefiting from special education. Although not exhaustive, examples of related services include: speech/language pathology, audiology, psychological or social work, occupational therapy, and physical therapy services.
District 57 programs are aligned to provide children similar program experiences as they move through our schools. However, the type of support is adjusted to be developmentally appropriate. The following document provides an overview of the continuum of services offered in District 57. However, it is important to note that each child’s program is tailored to meet his or her individual needs.
Birth to Three:
The state has established an Agency named Child and Family Connections, which assists families in securing itinerant services (e.g. speech therapy, occupational therapy) for children identified as having a disability at this age.
The District is responsible for transitioning children from birth to three to the District 57 Early Childhood Program. At the age of 2 1/2, Child and Family Connections notifies the District of a child in need of transition. The District has up to six months to complete any additional evaluations the team recommends and then meet with parents to discuss whether continuing intervention is needed. A variety of options may be discussed with parents.
Early Childhood Identification Process:
District 57 provides preschool screenings throughout the school year. Three, four and five-year-old children, who have not entered kindergarten, may participate in the district screening. The child must be registered for the screening by contacting the Early Childhood Coordinator at 847-394-7340 ext 2520. Screenings are free of charge. The screening process provides basic information about the child in the areas of cognitive, motor, social/emotional, and speech/language development. A vision and hearing screening is also completed as part of the screening process. The preschool screening is designed to identify developmental lags or areas of concern that may warrant further assessment in one or all of the domains.
When further assessment is indicated, parents are contacted and a meeting is held to discuss concerns and determine appropriate components of the evaluation. After permission to evaluate is obtained, the district attempts to complete the assessment as soon as possible. However, the district has sixty school days to complete the assessment and meet with parents to discuss results. If the child qualifies for special education services as a result of the evaluation and team meeting, goals and objectives are written. An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for providing services is developed, and program placement is determined. The Individualized Education Plan is reviewed on an annual basis, adjusted, and revised as necessary.
Early Childhood Services
Circle of Friends: The Early Childhood Circle of Friends is a preschool program for children with moderate to severe special needs. This program pairs typically developing children along with children with identified special needs. The program is structured using developmentally appropriate practices that emphasize cognitive, language, social and emotional growth. The program provides a naturalistic early childhood environment that is rich in language and literacy experiences and recognizes children as active learners. The classes are co-taught by an early childhood teacher and a speech/language therapist. Additionally, other related service providers such as an occupational therapist, social work, or physical therapist may provide support within and outside of the classrooms. Enrollment for students without special needs is tuition based. Classes meet four days a week, Tuesday through Friday, in the morning and afternoon. The classes generally hold eight typically developing students and eight students with special needs.
Itinerant Speech/Language Services: Students who present with mild to moderate speech and/or language deficit are eligible to receive Speech/Language services.
Resource: For students with mild or moderate needs, special education services are provided within the general education environment through collaboration between general education teachers and special education teachers. This collaborative approach supports student needs through methods such as: co-teaching, in class support, instructional assistant support, or modifications to content/instructional delivery.
Some students may also need additional support within the resource model for remediation of an identified deficit. When this is the case, the special education teacher will pull small groups of children to receive highly specialized instruction in reading, writing, math, and executive functioning outside of the general education environment. At Lincoln Middle School, this is called Strategies for Learning.
Extended Support: Some students may need a specialized method of instruction for the remediation of an identified deficit in reading, writing, and/or math. When this is the case, children are provided instruction in a small group environment taught by a special education teacher and grouped with children having similar learning profiles. Some students may require this level of support in only one subject area, while some students may require this level of support in multiple academic areas. Some students may require social/emotional, organizational, or executive functioning supports. These small classes utilize instructional materials and learning approaches that encourage the learner to move at his/her own pace in the curriculum. Interventions are provided through a collaborative approach by general education teachers, special education teachers, and related service providers.
Students who receive extended support services in kindergarten typically attend a full session of kindergarten with typically developing students as well as attend the Extended Support program in either the morning or afternoon depending on their kindergarten schedule.
SOAR: The Structured Opportunities for Academics & Responsibility program (SOAR) is designed for students who exhibit a range of educational needs related to significant deficits in cognitive development, communication/language, adaptive behavior, social skill development, and sensory regulation. The SOAR program provides a continuum of individualized curriculum emphasizing functional academic, communication, and social skills. Students are provided with inclusion opportunities during specials such as: Physical Education, Music, Art, Technology, and other classes based on individual student needs.
Our program emphasizes student success and independence by structuring a visually rich environment, providing research based academic curriculum, facilitating social and behavioral skills to advance peer interactions, maintaining daily routines to promote sensory regulation, and instructing in self help skills. Ongoing collaborative efforts enhance partnerships between general and special education staff, parents, and the community. SOAR programming can meet the needs of students in early childhood through middle school.
Out-of-District Placement: Some students may have complex needs that cannot be met within District 57 programming. In these instances, District 57 utilizes a variety of therapeutic day school settings to provide the high levels of instructional support for students with intense instructional needs.
Updated February 2016