The Approved Private School program is designed to increase the cognitive and functional skills of a child with multiple and/or significant disabilities leading towards greater independence. The programs serves children who are between 2 and 8 years of age and who have a primary diagnosis that includes but is not limited to the following: Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, and Neurological Impairment. Intermediate Units or school districts make referrals for children who demonstrate a need for specially designed instruction that, in general, cannot be met in a school district or Intermediate Unit operated program.
Before beginning services a child and his/her parents/caregiver participate in an initial evaluation conducted by staff members from multiple disciplines. Based on this evaluation an Individual Education Program (IEP) is developed for each child. This plan defines the specific goals and outcomes of services that are needed and desired by the family for the individual. The plan also outlines the particular services that will be provided to facilitate achievement of the family goals. Progress of the child and the Individual Education Programs are reviewed annually and changes to services are generally made at that time.
Approved Private School services are usually provided in an Easterseals center based classroom, but may also be done in a child’s home or other community setting
A teacher who is part of a multi-disciplinary team assigned to implement the collective IEPs for the enrolled children directs the classroom-based program. Working with the teacher and instructional assistants are professionals from a variety of disciplines including such things as occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, vision therapy, hearing therapy, audiology, nursing, social work, music therapy and assistive technology.
Classroom services are provided on a “school calendar” which includes 180 classroom days provided over the course of 10 months. Children generally participate in full-day sessions four to five times each week depending on their individual needs.
Funding for the Approved Private School is provided by The Pennsylvania Department of Education, Federal IDEA Grant and Charitable Contributions.