Special Educational Needs
The Special Educational Needs (SEN) Department is dedicated to supporting students with academic, social, and behavioral needs through a variety of student support programs.
AAS is committed to providing an inclusive learning environment to students with a range of needs that can be met through school and classroom accommodations, as well as a collaborative atmosphere that values input from students, parents, and teachers in the support process. At this time AAS is able to meet mild to moderate needs of students.
The vision of the SEN Department at AAS is to support the overall AAS Mission, Vision, and Core Values by fostering an environment where...
- All members of the AAS community embrace and celebrate individual differences and unique qualities;
- All students are fully included, valued members of the whole school community;
- All students are supported within their area(s) of need and encouraged to advocate for themselves to ensure their individual needs are met;
- All staff members take responsibility to meet students’ needs and work actively and collaboratively to do so;
- All staff members have access to support from specialists and additional training to assist them in meeting the individual needs of their students; and,
- All students, parents, and staff members are valued, supported members of the educational team who actively participate in the full student support process.
- Learning Support (LS)
- English as an Additional Language (EAL)
- Gifted and Talented (GT)
- Occupational Therapy (OT)
- Speech & Language (SL)
The Learning Support (LS) program at AAS supports the needs of students with identified learning, behavioral, and/or social-emotional disabilities that impact their ability to access the grade level curriculum or to achieve to their ability. Common needs that are supported through the LS program include: Learning Disabilities (e.g. Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Dyspraxia, Deaf/Hard of Hearing, Anxiety Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and various physical disabilities. SEN Teachers at AAS are equipped to provide targeted support to students with mild to moderate needs. In general, students requiring modification of the grade level curriculum are unable to be supported at this time. All students receiving Learning Support will have their needs formally documented in a Student Support Plan (which lists accommodations that students require) or an Individualized Learning Plan (which lists accommodations and annual goals that a student is working toward).
If you have questions about the support that can be provided for your child, please contact the SEN Coordinator.
Elementary School:Students in the Elementary School receiving support through the LS program will have access to a SEN Teacher at each grade level. SEN Teachers collaborate regularly as part of the grade level teaching team to ensure that an appropriate range of differentiated learning experiences are available to all students. Students may also receive support through individual or small-group sessions within or outside of their regular classes, in-class support provided by the SEN Teacher or a qualified Assistant, or targeted instruction provided in place of a World Language class. Support programs are tailored based on the individual needs of students and are often revisited and adjusted as students develop new skills.
Middle School:Students in the Middle School receiving support through the LS program will have access to a SEN Teacher at each grade level. SEN Teachers collaborate regularly with grade level subject teachers and will co-teach certain courses as well, providing opportunities for students to receive additional support during their regular class time. Depending on the level of need, students may also join a Learning Resource Class that meets in place of a World Language class and offers dedicated time for students to develop skills, learn new strategies, and manage coursework under the guidance of a SEN Teacher during the school day.
High School:Students in the High School receiving support through the LS program will have access to a Learning Support Teacher and classroom as needed. In Grades 9 and 10 students may be supported in class through co-taught learning experiences provided by a subject teacher and a SEN Teacher working in tandem. Depending on the level of need, students may also join a Learning Resource Class that meets in place of an elective course or study hall and offers dedicated time for students to develop skills, learn new strategies, and manage coursework under the guidance of the Learning Support Teacher during the school day.
The English as an Additional Language (EAL) program at AAS is a fee-based program that provides support to students in the area of English language acquisition. Students receive direct instruction and in-class support in the four core language domains of Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening. Using the WIDA Can-Do Descriptors, students chart their English-learning process on a continuum that moves from beginning to native-like speakers and users of the English language. Based on their proficiency in each domain, students are guided by SEN Teachers to set annual language goals for themselves which they work toward achieving each year. Students’ levels of English acquisition are assessed each year and recommendations for continued enrollment in the EAL program are made based on a review of student performance, including assessment results, in-class achievement, and teacher recommendations.
Students of all English proficiency levels--including non-speakers--may be supported in the Elementary School. For beginners, support may be provided in place of a World Language class as well as through targeted small group sessions and in-class support. For students with more English-language experience, support occurs exclusively within the classroom and in small group sessions as needed.
Students entering the Middle School at AAS are expected to have at least a basic understanding of the English language upon admission. Support for English Language Learners in the Middle School is provided through a dedicated class during the school day which takes the place of an additional World Language. Students may also be supported in class through co-taught learning experiences provided by a subject teacher and a SEN Teacher working in tandem.
Students entering the High School at AAS are expected to have at least an intermediate level of English language upon admission. Support for English Language Learners in the High School is provided through a dedicated class during the school day which takes the place of one elective course in the schedule. Students may also be supported in class through co-taught learning experiences provided by a subject teacher and a SEN Teacher working in tandem.
The newest of the SEN programs at AAS, the Gifted and Talented (GT) program currently serves students in Grades 2 through 5 in the areas of mathematics and literacy. Support is provided through a combination of in-class and small-group experiences in the area(s) of need and may include enrichment or extension of grade level curriculum, or acceleration beyond the grade level. Students receiving GT support are those for whom typical differentiation of the grade level curriculum is not sufficient and who require substantially different learning experiences in order to continue to learn and grow academically.
Students are identified for the GT program by a committee consisting of representatives from the Elementary School team. This team meets at least three times per year to review student learning data to screen for students who might be in need of GT services. Once screened, additional information is gathered from parents and classroom teachers to create a holistic picture of each student’s academic performance and needs, which is then evaluated by the committee to make a determination about support. Students previously identified for GT services in other schools/districts are encouraged to share this information with the SEN Coordinator upon admission to AAS; however, previous GT identification does not guarantee identification at AAS at this time. To make a referral for GT support for a student, please contact the SEN Coordinator.
The Occupational Therapy (OT) program at AAS is founded on the principles of Sensory Integration (SI) and sensory development. Supported by consultant Dr. Melanne Maddalene Randall, MSC, OTR who is based in London, the program focuses on identifying and supporting the needs of students with underlying sensory challenges that interfere with their learning and/or social-emotional development. Students enrolled in this fee-based program engage in regular individual or small-group therapy sessions in the OT Gym with trained OT specialists. Activities involve the use of swings, trampolines, obstacle courses, the ball pit, and much more, and seek to strengthen students’ gross and fine motor skills and develop underlying sensory systems.
The Speech & Language program at AAS is designed to address the communication needs of students. Areas that are frequently addressed by the SL program include articulation, stuttering, pragmatic language, and receptive and expressive language delays/disorders. When appropriate, our Speech/Language Pathologist (SLP) may collaborate with the Occupational Therapy team to deliver language supports utilizing the multi-sensory equipment in the OT Gym. Speech/Language support may occur during the school day in individual or small-group sessions or during after school intervention groups. There is no fee for SL support.
AAS employs one full-time psychologist specializing in work with children and adolescents. The primary role of the psychologist is to assist the SEN team in identifying and understanding the varying needs of students and providing recommendations to the team regarding appropriate support structures for meeting students’ needs. The psychologist is also available to consult with parents and other members of the AAS community and at times may provide short-term counseling or emotional support for students in crisis. Students in need of formal psychological or educational-psychological evaluations will be assessed during the school day at no additional charge upon recommendation of the SEN team. Counseling and other support may be arranged at times most conducive for each student, including during or after the school day.