Psychotherapeutic support plays a critical role in supporting the emotional development and well being of our students. Marriage and Family Therapists work with classroom teachers to develop proactive behavioral support plans for all students.
We form topic-specific social groups throughout the year to address such issues as peer relationships, hygiene, the vocabulary of emotions, and frustration tolerance. Some students receive individual therapy focusing on relationship issues, social stories, and behavior at home, school, and in the community. Oak Hill therapists work closely with the community of professionals supporting our students outside the school, and leverage the collective expertise of our network of consulting therapists.
We use school-based occupational therapy to help our students develop the skills they need for an independent life. We apply sensory integration into the daily educational environment. Therapeutic activities, strategies, modifications and adaptations are organized within the curriculum and the educational environment allowing the child to perform at an optimal level for learning. This integrated approach includes collaboration between the teaching staff, speech therapy, psychological counseling, parents and occupational therapy to reach each child’s academic and therapeutic goals.
Our occupational therapists, as members of a child’s interdisciplinary team, build and support:
• Cognitive skills—attention, memory, organization, reasoning & problem solving
• Fine motor skills— strength, bilateral integration, dexterity, grasping patterns
• Gross motor skills—muscle tone, core strength, motor planning, coordination & postural control
• Daily living activities – including self care tasks such as eating, cooking, hygiene
• Social skills—turn-taking, developing relationships, self-esteem
• Visual motor and perceptual skills- foundations for reading, writing, cutting and drawing
Occupational therapists apply sensory integration principles into the daily educational environment. Therapeutic activities, strategies, modifications and adaptations are organized within the curriculum and the educational environment, allowing the child to perform at an optimal level for learning. This integrated approach includes collaboration between the teaching staff, speech therapists, psychological counselors, occupational therapists and parents, to reach each child’s academic and therapeutic goals.
Oak Hill has developed a music therapy program for our students in collaboration with NAME. Individuals with autism have shown equal or superior abilities in pitch processing, labeling of emotions in music, and musical preference when compared to typically developing peers. The most compelling evidence supporting the clinical benefits of music therapy lies in the areas of social-emotional responsiveness and communication, including increased compliance, reduced anxiety, increased speech output, decreased vocal stereotypy, receptive labeling, and increased interaction with peers. Research also support the potential for music to assist in the learning of daily routines.
Speech & Language
Speech and Language at Oak Hill are delivered via a multidisciplinary, collaborative and child-centered model. Our goal is to maximize the communicative competence of our students within their educational and social environments. We provide services both in focal therapy sessions and within the classroom/community environment to maximize concept development and skill set generalization.
- Speech production (articulation, apraxia, phonological disorders)
- Expressive Language (verbal and written)
- Receptive Language (listening/understanding, reading comprehension)
- Pragmatic/Social thinking skills (understanding and applying behaviors within social interaction including: nonverbal language, reciprocity, perspective taking, making good impressions)
- Transitional plans skills: employment, telephoning, interviewing skills, etc.
- Augmentative/assisted communication: alternative systems and materials to support and develop language and integrate these into classroom activities/interactions
- Activities & Community
Innovative technology is used to support communication, behavior, life skills, travel skills and job skills. Oak Hill School prides itself on the use of age-appropriate technology, such as iPads, iPods, tablets and laptops, to promote the independence and success of each student. We also teach appropriate use of social media and help students learn the social rules of the technological age.