Continuum of Special Student Services

The LCPS Special Student Services Department encompasses a continuum of specialized services that support the social, emotional, academic and physical needs of youth ages three through 21 with various ranges of exceptionalities. Our mission is to provide specialized instruction and services, “that are reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances.”[1] 137 1000.

In conjunction with state and local agencies as well as related services within the schools, programs are designed following best practices as well as federal and state guidelines.

In LCPS, we understand that every child has different and specific needs, gifts, strengths and challenges. Therefore, we are committed to providing a wide range of services for our students who are living with the disability of autism. We know the old saying is true, “When you’ve met one person with autism, you have met one person with autism.”

Services in our district range from minimal additional support in the general education environment to more restrictive self-contained classrooms. Across all settings, though, the primary goal is to inspire academic growth and development while addressing the core deficits of autism in the least restrictive environment necessary for success. The evaluation and Individualize Education Program (IEP) Team will help formulate detailed goals and objectives for your student.

Autism Satellite Programs

LCPS has designated certain schools/classrooms as Autism Satellite Sites to meet the learning needs of some students with autism who require specialized settings and instruction. These sites are defined by certain characteristics, as listed below, and as identified by the National Professional Development Center (NPDC) on Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), March 2011. Additionally, faculty and related service providers are familiar with the evidence-based practices for working with individuals with ASD, as identified by the NPDC on Autism Spectrum Disorders, 2014 Annual Report.

Learning Environment

The learning environment in the Autism Satellite Sites’ classrooms is structured specifically to meet the safety needs of children with autism. Additionally, the environment is organized in a manner to maximize learning and minimize physical distractions, depending on the specific needs of each student. Finally, the learning materials necessary for the instruction of students with autism will be readily available, organized, and appropriate in rigor and design.

Structure and Schedule

The structure and schedule of the learning environment may include visual supports and schedules, depending on the specific needs of each student. The physical set-up will be one that encourages smooth transitions and ample opportunity for interaction between students, the objects in the classroom, and other people such as peers and staff.

Individualized Education Program (IEP) Development

IEP development in these sites will specifically address the core deficits of autism, identify methods for monitoring student progress, and define the assessment process. Each child will be offered an IEP designed to provide access to instructional strategies and curricula aligned to both challenging State academic content standards and ambitious goals, based on the unique circumstances of the child.  Each child’s IEP must include, among other information, an accurate statement of the child’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance and measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals.2 [2] 20 U.S.C. 1414(d)(1)(A)(i)(I)-(IV) and 34 CFR §300.320(a)(1)-(4)

Parent Involvement

We recognize that none of this is possible without ongoing parent and family involvement. Student success is always maximized with a team approach. This means your student’s teacher will strive to provide on-going communication between school and home. You will have the opportunity to share your preferred method of communication when you meet your teacher. This can also be specified in the IEP.