Designated Instructional Services*
CREST students have the opportunity to access Designated Instructional Services (DIS) as indicated in IEPs. Services could be Speech/Language Therapy including AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication), Occupational Therapy, and Behavior Intervention Services. These services are delivered by licensed therapists with appropriate credentials and training in meeting the needs of students with Autism or other related developmental disabilities. We are committed to providing therapeutic services in collaboration with special education teachers, parents and any other supporting personnel to provide practice and generalization of skills across settings:
Many CREST students are referred due to basic inabilities to adequately and appropriately communicate with family, friends and peers. Our students may be non-verbal (non-speaking), limited verbal, or verbal but with limited to no understanding of social rules of communication. A basic need of CREST students is that they develop a form of communication that is not only effective for them, but allows them to be a participating/communicating part of their environment.
CREST Speech Pathologists utilize a variety of approaches to develop, facilitate and enhance students’ communication skills across multiple domains. Therapists determine which modality, or combination of modalities allows the student to effectively communicate and interact with their families, peers and others in their community at his/her highest level of independence.
Modalities may include verbal speech production, sign language, various forms of technology/AAC, and physical supports, or any combination of communication approaches. Intervention is based on treatment strategies for a wide variety of areas such as receptive/expressive language, speech sound production (articulation), vocabulary and syntax, augmentative/alternative communication, apraxia (motor planning for speech production), social communication and social thinking, verbal reasoning/problem solving, as well as others that fall within the realm of communication.
As prescribed in IEPs’, students receive services specifically tailored to their unique communicative needs. Depending on student needs, therapy is delivered in a therapy room, classroom and/or in a natural environment. Therapists collaborate on an ongoing basis with staff of students on their caseloads as well as for students who do not have an IEP. This classroom collaboration enables teachers to make classroom accommodations that facilitate student communication.
Occupational Therapy Services:
CREST students may present with impaired sensory systems, meaning they do not process and coordinate basic sensory information. Specific therapies are designed to assist students in either sensitizing (increasing) or de-sensitizing (decreasing) sensory input so they are better able to adjust to their environment. Appropriately certified and registered Occupational Therapists use purposeful and meaningful activities to enable students to participate in and derive benefit from school programs and activities. Occupational therapy may be appropriate and recommended for an individual student for reasons that might be affecting his or her learning or behavior, such as fine motor skills (holding a pencil and/or typing), visual or perceptual skills (copying from the board), and/or inappropriate sensory responses (over reaction to stimuli, such as sound or touch).
Occupational therapists help students perform particular tasks necessary for participation or learning within their educational environment. Occupational therapists don’t just focus on the specific problem that a child’s disability may present; rather, they look at the whole child and tackle individual tasks, helping students find ways to do the things they need and want to do.
Occupational therapists also provide consultation to teachers about how classroom design affects attention, why particular children behave inappropriately at certain times, and, as an example, determine where best to seat a child based on his or her learning style or other needs. Using direct and indirect services as well as Assistive Technology and environmental modifications, Occupational Therapists collaborate with all members of the school team so students can access their IEP.
Behavior Intervention Services:
CREST’s approach to behavioral intervention is based on the needs of the individual. Our program uses a variety of treatment options that include the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). ABA is an intervention that has been widely recognized as one of the most effective approaches to positive behavior changes in individuals with Autism and developmental disabilities. In addition to supporting the behavioral health of our students, we also recognize that our students’ mental health is equally as important. This is met through Cognitive Behavior Therapy. CBT merges behavioral analytic techniques with cognitive therapy, helping students to address additional concerns such as anxiety and depression. All of CREST’s interventions are systematic, evidence-based methods and led by a professional team of BCBAs (Board Certified Behavior Analyst).
Whatever approach, or combination of approaches, is determined to be most suitable, our goal is to increase appropriate social behaviors, communication and learning readiness skills. Through positive reinforcement CREST provides goal-focused treatment resulting in high student outcomes.
Of note, although led by BCBA’s, CREST is committed to looking at the whole student, not just at exhibited behaviors. We also recognize the importance of the team in both evaluating and establishing an appropriate behavior intervention program. The team, made up of CREST educational staff, service providers, and parents, are critical to the success of the behavior plan.
In general, individual behavior intervention is based on a simple concept – increasing desirable behaviors.
* As needed, additional services may be added to CREST’s certification.