What We Do

What is the role of a Special Education Teacher?

Special Ed teacher400Special education teachers work with students who have a wide range of learning, mental health, emotional-behavioral, physical and intellectual difficulties. Direct and individualized special education services for students that are eligible include teaching skills such as reading, writing, math, self-help and independence.

Special Education Teachers work closely with general education teachers and other specialists like a Speech-Language Pathologist or Occupational Therapists to address the student’s unique and individualized needs through a strength based approach in order to provide access to education in the least restrictive environment with non-disabled peers and with curriculum used by these peers to the maximum extent possible. They will work with students either in resource room for individual or small groups as well as collaboratively in the general education classroom.  Special Education Teachers help present information in a manner that students with disabilities can more easily understand. Along with the general education teacher and sometimes para-educators, they can adapt lessons, make modifications to presentation of materials and how the student might express what he/she understands about the content as well as how the student engages optimally in the content and activity. Special Education Teachers deeply understand how students learn, research-based curriculum and best practice in instruction for students with unique learning needs.

Special Ed teacher 2Special Education Teachers are experts in many areas of disability that can impact a student’s success at school and understand how to develop specialized instruction to meet the student’s unique learning needs. They may work with students that have a discrete learning challenge in reading, written expression and/or Math as well as students with physical and sensory disabilities such as blindness, deafness or cerebral palsy.  Special Education Teachers work with students that have been diagnosed with Autism and those with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities. They recognize and understand the impact on learning when there is a hidden disabilities such as attention and concentration and emotional disorders such as anxiety and depression. Students with severe disabilities that need instruction in the area of basic life skills, independent living and pre-vocational skills are also their area of specialty.

At the Gallatin-Madison Special Education Cooperative, Special Education Teachers are often the case manager for a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). They can also be a related service to other areas of eligibility such as a language learning difference that impacts reading comprehension or written expression. They provide pre-referral instruction trials when a disability is suspected, are actively engaged in the school’s Response to Intervention (RTI) and Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) teams.


What is the role of a School Psychologist?

school psych with studentSchool psychologists have unique training in mental health, behavior, and academics. School psychologists work with teachers, other school staff, parents, and outside agencies in order to provide the best student outcomes in all areas – academics, social – emotional and behavioral. Our training includes data collection, assessment, consultation and collaboration, mental health, and academic and behavioral interventions. We provide both direct and indirect services to students in the form of social/emotional skill training, academic instruction, consultation with teachers and school staff, and system-level support in order to promote healthy and safe schools. We are cognizant of individual school cultures and recognize the differences and similarities that make each district, regardless of size, so great!

At the Gallatin-Madison Special Education Cooperative, we believe in incorporating ourselves in the schools as much as possible by providing whole group lessons, getting to know families and school staff, and recognizing individual students’ strengths. We look forward to building relationships with all educational stakeholders.


What is the role of a Speech-Language Pathologist?

speech therapist in schoolThe ability to receive, send, process and comprehend concepts or verbal/nonverbal and graphic symbols is considered part of a student’s ability to communicate and learn. Impairments in communication may affect a child’s ability to speak, read, write, process information, and interact socially. In the school setting Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP) work with students who struggle with language learning and literacy due to a communication impairment. In addition to eligibility in the area of Speech-Language Impairment, there may be challenges due to another diagnosis or area of special education eligibility such as Autism, Intellectual or Developmental Delays, Cerebral Palsy, or other health impairments.

SLPs provide a variety of pre-referral and direct therapy services as part of the student’s general education and Individualized Education Program, (IEP), team. Together with school teams, SLPs, collaborate to ensure that students are able to access and participate in curriculum and learning activities to the maximum extent possible. SLP services may target the following areas:  speech production/articulation; select, program and help students use augmentative, alternate communication devices or access instructional technology; understanding and using language (e.g. vocabulary, grammar); cognition (e.g. attention, reasoning, problem solving, memory), fluency/stuttering, voice production and auditory habilitation/rehabilitation.

The Gallatin-Madison Special Education Cooperative SLPs are integral part of each school team they serve. The provide pre-referral services and are involved in the school’s Response to Intervention (RTI) and Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) student focused data collection and problem solving process. We share in the ultimate goal of developing each student’s potential so that they may experience success.


What is the role of an Occupational Therapist?

OT in schoolOccupational Therapy in the school provides a continuum of services and support to students, teachers, and families.  These services are designed to ensure students have equal access to all aspects of the school day and support student participation and success in the general education setting with non-disabled peers to the maximum extent possible. Occupational Therapists may address limitations with fine motor strength and coordination, visual motor integration, handwriting, wheelchair positioning and adaptive equipment, organizational and problem-solving skills, self-regulation and sensory integration, activities of daily living and assistive technology.  Services may also include adapting the environment, modifying curriculum, supporting accommodations, and ensuring access and participation in school activities and educational programs.

Within the Gallatin-Madison Special Education Cooperative, the school-based Occupational Therapist serves students directly through services indicated on Individualized Education Plan, IEP, as a related service or within special education service areas such as Written Language and Assistive Technology.   Additionally, the Occupational Therapist contributes to an early intervention through pre-referral trials and each districts response to intervention and/or multi-tiered systems of support approach that incorporates universal design for learning problem solving thought process with school teams.