Consultants: Description of Services
ACS Athens cooperates closely with outside consultants to provide the absolute best support for our students.
Both the IIC:LEP /SNFLC and OLP departments work closely with Clinical Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists and Behavioral Vision Care Optometrists who have been carefully selected for their expertise in their respective fields. These professionals are then recommended to families that require such services.
Clinical Psychologists :psycho-educational assessments
Psycho-educational assessments are regularly conducted for the purposes of screening for, and determining, learning challenges, placement into special education, additional need for services for students with educational or emotional difficulties, behavioral problems within the classroom, entrance into gifted or high performance programs, and interpersonal-communication difficulties.
A complete cognitive and educational assessment usually includes: interviews with student parent(s) / guardian(s) - teacher (s); a detailed report on the student’s developmental history; observation of student’s behavior at home/school with parent(s)-sibling(s)–peers; administering cognitive-ability functioning tests and aptitude/ achievement tests based on grade level performance; neuropsychological functioning tests; administering personality, self esteem, emotional functioning tests and student’s self-report questionnaires.
Students are compared with their same culture peers as far as grade and age level performance. In addition, assessments are used for the purposes of placement decisions, intervention planning, and evaluating progress and outcomes throughout the school year.
The administration of a complete cognitive and educational assessment is conducted by an expert school psychologist and requires 4-6 hours of direct face to face testing. In addition, another 6-7 hours are required to critically evaluate, analyze, integrate, and interpret the findings, compose a comprehensive report with a diagnosis and recommendations, and give feedback to the parents and student. Potential coordination of school interventions is also offered. ACS Athens provides families with recommendations of on-site and external assessment centers.
The Occupational Therapy (OT) sessions range from 30-45 minutes, depending on the needs of the students and the demands of the individual academic program. The OT Specialist works with the students on many areas. These areas include gross motor coordination, fine motor skills, organization and attention skills, visual perceptual skills, praxis, self-confidence and sensory integration, depending on the identified deficit areas. The OT sessions are held both outdoors and indoors. A playground area provides for a wonderful arena to address many of these issues, but a room for tabletop activities and the fine motor/cognitive/perceptual training is also required. Some of the support provided by the OT Specialist can be done in the classroom when there is a specific need that must be addressed, otherwise OT support is provided on a pull-out basis. The OT Therapist is an external Consultant, who provides these services to students at ACS Athens during the school day.
The Speech Language Therapist (SLT)
The ability of a child to communicate effectively is critical as it impacts all areas of learning. By the age of six, it is assumed that a child has fully developed receptive and expressive language and clear speech in their native language. Hence, it is no accident that all around the world, this is the age that formal schooling commences and a child acquires academic knowledge by using his/her communication as a tool.
The role of the SLT is to assess and diagnose difficulties in the areas of language, articulation, voice and fluency. When problems exist that are not appropriate to the child’s age, intervention commences. This includes both direct speech therapy with the child and collaboration with parents and teachers so that a home program can be followed.
Early identification and intervention ensures that difficulties in language and speech will not directly affect a child’s performance. The SLT Therapist is an external Consultant, who provides these services to students at ACS Athens during the school day.
Behavioral Vision Care Optometrist
ACS Athens was the first school in Greece that incorporated the Vision Care Philosophy into its services. The understanding of the relationship between vision and learning is very common in many countries including the US, Europe and Australia. There are many different vision problems that interfere with the child’s ability to write, read, attend and even play. Having vision care as part of the child’s assessment methodology and remediation plan upgrades the services provided. ACS Athens provides recommendations for off-site Vision Therapy.