New Beginnings provides a comprehensive set of services that allow our students to achieve success each day through a structured, caring and positive environment. The services described below are available to the students as mandated in their IEPs.
New Beginnings employs a full-time nurse who is available to students throughout the day. The school nurse assists with student illnesses, medications, emergencies, support and guidance. In addition, the school nurse maintains up-to-date medical records for each student, including medical history, immunizations, and any special medical considerations.
Speech and Language Therapy
The New Beginnings speech department is comprehensive and student specific. Students receive speech services in individual, group, infused, or co-treatment sessions with the occupational and/or physical therapists as determined by the IEP. Sessions are thirty minutes in length; a maximum of three sessions are provided each week. Speech therapists work closely with the classroom staff to facilitate speech and language development throughout the day. New Beginnings speech therapists address goals in the areas of receptive and expressive language skills, pragmatic and social language development, oral motor therapy and feeding therapy. Many of the speech therapists are trained in the PROMPT technique. To facilitate communication throughout the day, New Beginnings employs a variety of augmentative and alternative communication methods, such as the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), sign language, picture schedules, topic boards and hi-tech augmentative communication systems. In addition, speech therapy sessions address play skills and generalization of language skills to other people and settings.
Occupational therapy at New Beginnings incorporates a variety of intervention strategies into their students’ therapy sessions, with the goal of ensuring that each child is provided with an individualized program that includes the involvement of all other therapeutic disciplines. Our team approach allows for an optimal learning environment for each child. Students at New Beginnings participate in 30-minute individual or group sessions, as outlined by each child’s IEP. Therapy sessions typically focus on improving sensory processing/modulation skills through the use of various sensory integrative techniques. Students also engage in various handwriting programs, visual perceptual/motor, self-care, vocational, and fine motor activities. The use of adaptive equipment and assistive devices are also utilized as needed. At New Beginnings, occupational therapy provides each child with learning experiences that generalize to other life skills.
Students are evaluated to determine any gross motor delays and how these delays may influence their ability to function within the school setting. Students receive a 30-minute individual or small group session one or two times per week, depending on the needs of the student. To assess a child’s skills within the school environment, the physical therapist takes into consideration a student’s postural stability, body awareness, and his or her ability to safely navigate through the hallways and within the classroom. In addition, physical therapy addresses a student’s gross motor needs to promote more age appropriate reciprocal play skills to encourage greater peer interaction. These areas may include: balance, coordination, motor planning, and ball skills. The physical therapists work with the adaptive physical education teacher to apply skills addressed in the physical education curriculum.
Counseling services are available to enhance positive behavior and/or social skills to contribute to students’ social and emotional development. New Beginnings social workers provide group and individual counseling up to three times per week for 30-minute sessions as determined by students IEPs. In addition, social workers provide group social skills lessons in classrooms. The social workers also work collaboratively with other therapists and classroom staff to facilitate social development and peer interaction throughout the day. Social workers also are available to aid parents in accessing outside services, such as recreational activities, specialists, and the Department of Developmental Disabilities (DDD).
Reading specialists assist students exhibiting difficulties with mastering reading skills using a variety of techniques within a balanced literacy program. All students who struggle in reading receive pull-out reading instruction with the reading specialist. They receive either individual or group instruction and many students receive both. The reading specialist develops an RTI plan for each student and through this plan specific skills and strategies are taught individually and reinforced in the classroom.
Our reading program provides various methodologies that support the Orton-Gillingham Method to increase decoding, fluency, encoding, and reading comprehension. Some of the methodologies utilized are the Wilson Reading program, Recipe for Reading, Bradley Reading and Language Arts, High Noon Reading Series, Wright Skills Readers, and Phonemic Awareness Techniques. We also motivate our older students to read by using high interest novels that are of low readabilities.
We take pride in the ability to infuse reading into the lives of each student. We use the interactive online reading program Raz-Kids as well as participate in the Book It Program. We offer a full library of informational and narrative texts that students can borrow and read during free time in the classroom or even at home. Our library also offers students the freedom to read independently in a welcoming atmosphere. With the use of the SMART Board, iPads, Nooks and laptops, students can have their choice of reading an interactive eBook or a paperback novel.
Our data driven reading program has made a significant impact with our population of students. We have had some students increase up to three reading levels in just one school year!
Board Certified Behavior Analyst
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) offers empirically proven strategies for evaluating the functional and communicative meaning of behavior. This data provides useful, objective assessments of progress. In addition, the interdisciplinary team members are able to map out strategies to further promote learning, growth, and development. A certified behavior analyst is on staff at New Beginnings to provide assessment and treatment strategies that allow for positive learning experiences for the students.