The BOCES, as the administrative unit in special education, is a service arm of the local districts with the function to facilitate and assist in the provision of each student’s free appropriate public education.
The school psychologists provide cognitive assessments for special education, counseling as indicated by the student’s individual education program (IEP), consultation to parents and educators and assist in facilitating special education staffings.
Social workers/family resource specialists complete the student/family history for special education staffings, provide counseling as indicated in the student’s individual education program (IEP), consult with the parents and staff, assist in facilitating the parent advisory committee meetings and special education staffings.
Speech/language pathologists provide assessments, consultation, screening, direct therapy, and training for students with speech/language disabilities. They determine if a student’s speech/language skills are preventing the child from receiving reasonable educational benefit from regular education alone. Specific skills include: articulation, auditory processing, voice, fluency, auditory perception (memory and discrimination), structure and function of oral peripheral mechanism (mouth and tongue), oral and written receptive and expressive language (use and understanding of language), and ability to communicate with assistive devices. Speech/language assistants may support direct services to students.
The Occupational Therapist Registered (O.T.R.) and Registered Physical Therapist (R.P.T.) assess, provide consultation, and/or direct therapy for a variety of skills such as balance, coordination, handwriting, strength, range of motion, endurance, eye hand coordination, visual perception, posture, relaxation techniques, and specialized equipment needs for mobility, writing, and doing everyday tasks. They assist in determining if a student’s physical disability limits ambulation, attention, hand movements, coordination, communication, self-help skills, or ability to access transportation or the school facility. The Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (C.O.T.A.) and Physical Therapy Assistant (P.T.A.)may support direct services to students.
East Central BOCES provides audiology services. Audiologists provide follow-up hearing screening as needed, when referred by school district health professional staff, and annual hearing assessments for students identified with hearing losses. Audiologists provide direct and/or indirect services as determined by the individual education program (IEP).
East Central BOCES provides for all twenty member districts a Teacher/Consultant for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. This teacher/consultant assists with individual education program (IEP) development, communication plan development and provides direct and/or indirect services to students with disabilities per the IEP.
East Central BOCES provides for all twenty member districts a Teacher/Consultant of the Visually Impaired, direct and/or indirect services, as determined by the individual education program (IEP) team. This professional also assists with the development of the literacy plan in the IEP as needed.
All twenty member districts have school health services available to assist with IEP health care plan development, vision and hearing screenings and other required health services.
Early Childhood Education Services provide assessments, consultation, screenings and direct services for students with disabilities on IEPs ages 3-5 in all member districts. Early Childhood coordinators/teachers facilitate IEP meetings.
What is SWAAAC? The Colorado Department of Education’s school-based StateWide Assistive and Augmentative Alternative Communication (SWAAAC) teams provide multidisciplinary Assistive Technology services to enable students with disabilities equal access to the curriculum and full participation in their education and classroom. East Central BOCES SWAAAC Team serves 21 districts, students and families in Eastern Colorado.
What is Assistive Technology? Assistive Technology (AT) is any tool that helps a person with a disability function more effectively in the performance of activities at home, school, work or play. For some students with physical, sensory or communication disabilities, AT is the lifeline that provides them with another means to perform school-related tasks and participate in the school environment. Depending on the needs of the individual, an AT device can enable mobility in the school environment, equal access to information, the ability to communicate, and participation in the learning environment with a classroom. It enables them to develop the skills and knowledge needed for education after high school and living more independently in the community. (SWAAAC, 2011)
What is Augmentative Alternative Communication? Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) includes all forms of communication (other than oral speech)
ELA special education support is provided for schools who have English Learners that struggle academically in spite of the language interventions that have been provided and are documented. The process should be initiated with a consult referral with Mitzi Swiatkowski, the general education ELA coordinator. Once a school has completed the necessary consult and documentation, it is then all submitted to Leah Price, SPED/ELA Coordinator, for review and recommendations regarding next steps and a possible special education referral.