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The IIC:LEP and SNFLC at ACS Athens cooperates closely with outside consultants in order to provide the absolute best support for its students.
The Director of the IIC:LEP /SNFLC works closely with clinical psychologists, occupational therapists, speech therapists and behavioral vision care optometrists which have been carefully selected for their expertise in their respective fields. These professionals are then recommended to families that require such services by the IIC:LEP /SNFLC Director. To better understand the work of each of these specialists a description of their role has been provided.
Assessment in school settings are regularly conducted for the purposes of screening for learning challenges, placement into special education, additional need for services for students with educational or emotional issues, behavioral problems within the classroom, entrance into gifted or high performance programs, interpersonal-communication difficulties etc.
A complete cognitive and educational assessment usually includes: interviews with student parent(s) / guardian(s) - teacher (s); a detailed report on the student’s developmental history; observation of student’s behavior at home/school with parent(s)-sibling(s)–peers; administering cognitive-ability functioning tests and aptitude/ achievement tests based on grade level performance; neuropsychological functioning tests; administrating personality, self esteem, emotional functioning tests and student’s completing self-report questionnaires.
Educational tests can range from tests given in a classroom to a group of students to tests administered individually. Some tests can be administered by the school teachers, whereas others require advanced training in administration and clinical interpretation of the results. Students are compared with their same culture peers as far as grade and age level performance. In addition, assessments are used for the purposes of placement decisions, intervention planning, and evaluating progress and outcomes throughout the school year.
The administration of a complete cognitive and educational assessment is conducted by an expert school psychologist and requires 4-6 hours of direct face to face testing. In addition, another 6-7 hours are required to critically evaluate, analyze, integrate, and interpret the findings, compose a comprehensive report with a diagnosis and recommendations, and give feedback to the parents and student. Potential coordination of school interventions is also offered.
The Occupational Therapy (OT) sessions range from 30-45 minutes, depending on the needs of the students and the demands of the individual academic program. The OT Specialist works with the students on many areas. These areas include gross motor coordination, fine motor skills, organization and attention skills, visual perceptual skills, praxis, self-confidence and sensory integration, depending on the identified deficit areas. The OT sessions are held both outdoors and indoors. A playground area provides for a wonderful arena to address many of these issues, but a room for tabletop activities and the fine motor/cognitive/perceptual training is also required. Some of the support provided by the OT Specialist can be done in the classroom when there is a specific need that must be addressed, otherwise OT support is provided on a pull-out basis.
The Speech Language Pathologist (SLP)
The ability of a child to communicate effectively is critical as it impacts profoundly all areas of learning. By the age of six, it is assumed that a child has fully developed receptive and expressive language and clear speech in their native language. Hence, it is no accident that all around the world, this is the age that formal schooling commences and a child acquires academic knowledge using his/her communication as a tool.
The role of the SLP is to assess and diagnose difficulties in the areas of language, articulation, voice and fluency. Where problems exist that are not appropriate to the child’s age, intervention commences which includes both direct speech therapy with the child and work with parents and teachers so that a home program can be followed.
Early identification and intervention ensures that difficulties in language and speech will not be the reason a child may go on to have other issues such as dyslexia.
Behavioral Vision Care Optometrist
The SNFLC of ACS Athens under the directory of Mrs. Chris Perakis was the first school department in Greece that incorporated the Vision Care Philosophy into their services. The understanding of the relationship between vision and learning is very common in many countries including the US, Europe and Australia. There are many different vision problems that interfere with the child’s ability to write, read, attend and even play. Having vision care as part of the child’s assessment methodology and remediation plan upgrades the services provided. The SNF Learning Center is a complete department for all children with difficulties in school.