The Speech Department at PS 79M collaborates closely with teachers and other related service providers to ensure that every student has their own voice. Our goal is to enhance comminucation in the classroom through the use of adapted materials, assistive technology, and SMART Board technology. A student's specific speech and language goals are incorporated in every lesson plan.
We use various oral motor and articulation strategies to enhance verbal communication. We create adapted materials such as books, communication boards, and worksheets; allowing students to access the school's curriculum at their academic level. At PS 79M students are exposed to both programmatic and IEP driven communication devices. The Speech Department trains staff and families to effectively use these alternate means of communication in school, at home, and throughout the community. With the use of SMART Board technologies, students are exposed to interactive and differentiated lessons. The speech department also provides support in the area of feeding. We work with the occupational and physical therapists to ensure students with feeding issues are properly positioned, are provided with appropriate food consistencies, and adapted feeding utensils.
Our mission is to facilitate and encourage greater independence and optimal perfomance in the school setting. Through a variety of functionally based activities, we collaborate closely with our PS 79M community. to further enhance student outcomes.
Occupational therapists address the student's ability to fully access and be effective in the learning environment. This might include implementing a sensory diet to help the child organize in the classroom and regulate self in peer related interactions. Facilitating handwriting or fine motor skills so the child can complete written assignments or access adapted technology, helping the child organize himself or herself in the environment (including work space in and around the desk), working with the teacher and educational assistants to modify the classroom and/or adapt learning materials to facilitate successful particiapation. As occupational therapists working in a high school we help increase independence in worksites to promote transition into employment opportunities.
Physical therapists work on improving students functional abilities in and around the school campus (i.e. classrooms, hallways, stairwells, ramps, vocational settings, cafeteria, restrooms, and gymnasium). Therapists educate school personnel on different considerations required for students with disabilities. Students may rely on adaptive equipment for increased independence; therefore, physical therapists work with the students and/or school personnel on adapting or modifying equipment (i.e. walkers, leg braces).
Oppupational and Physical therapists are licensed by the University of the State of New York Education Department. The therapy staff provides consultation, direct treatments, training to parents and staff, and particiaption in IEP meetings. Therapists provide services individually, in a variety of settings (classrooms, hallways, stairwells, ramps, vocational settings, cafeteria, restrooms, and gymnasium).
In addition, PS 79M Occupational and Physical therapists have pioneered programs designed to engage our students in purposeful activity. These programs include but are not limited to: