Oak Hill’s elementary school serves students ages 5 to 13 in multi-age, multi-grade classroom groups. Each classroom group is taught by one or more credentialed special educators, and supported by highly qualified teaching assistants as needed. A suite of approaches is used within the relationship based model, including structured visual-organizational work systems, augmentative and alternative communication, Floortime/DIR, activities promoting healthy emotional regulation and social cognition, and behavioral activities which use reward systems as organizing tools. The elementary classes take on the structure of primary school classes in other schools, although much smaller, with some very important differences:
INDIVIDUALIZED INSTRUCTION: Each student has an Individualized educational program from which his or her program is developed. Classroom programs for students follow a continuum of standards-based learning, with goals and expectations set individually for each student.
THERAPEUTIC INFUSION: Speech-language therapy, occupational therapy and psychotherapy are embedded in the classroom program. Teachers and teaching assistants are highly conversant in the goals and techniques of these therapeutic disciplines. Therapists are highly conversant in the academic standards and goals appropriate to each student.
SOCIAL LEARNING: Group learning activities, such as Circle Time, are designed to deliver content such as the weather, the calendar, literature, and so on. But these activities are also carefully designed to develop each student’s capacity for group learning.
SENSORY INTERVENTIONS: Sensory interventions are available throughout the day for all children in the school. These include gross motor, proprioceptive and vestibular activities, tactile inputs, and oral-motor inputs. Constant attention is paid to each student’s arousal level and sensory needs.