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Counseling Department

The Counseling Department consists of licensed, masters-level clinicians who see students for weekly counseling and provide check-ins and case management. There’s ongoing communication and consultation with staff, parents and outside professionals. Counseling reports, written each term, document progress toward social emotional goals in each student’s Individual Educational Program. Counselors work closely with academic staff to develop individualized, expected targeted behavior goals reported on daily by each classroom teacher. This feedback acts as a daily communication tool for counseling sessions as well as for parents and guardians. In addition, counselors teach Health and Student Issues Classes (HSI classes) which follow the modified Massachusetts Common Core State Standards. The counselors carry a prime responsibility for teaching the basic principles of Social Thinking™ in counseling sessions as well as HSI classes. Thinking Maps® are used across the curriculum as well as in HSI classes and individual counseling sessions.

Individual Counseling

Counseling services focus on helping students further develop their social, organizational and problem-solving skills, as well as other issues related to coping with their language-based learning disability. Counselors work on developing and strengthening:

  • Self-Esteem
  • Social Awareness
  • Self-Advocacy
  • Friendship Skills
  • Social Skills
  • Self-Awareness
  • Pragmatic Language Skills
  • Independence
  • Organization
  • Disability Awareness
  • Problem Solving (can include peer mediation)
  • Communication Skills
  • Positive Hygiene
  • Positive Manners
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Identification and Expression of Feelings
  • Coping with Feelings Appropriately
  • Self-regulation
  • Focus/attentional skills


Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy (OT) services are an integral part of the programming at LPS.

Elementary School Occupational Therapy Services

  • Small group treatments
  • Tabletop tasks and gross motor activities in the Sensorimotor Room
  • O.T. consultations to academic teachers in order to assist with classroom accommodations to enhance performance

Occupational Therapy skills are addressed, including:

  • Fine Motor Skills — manipulating small objects, using scissors, pencil control, hand strength and bilateral coordination
  • Visual Perceptual Skills — visual discrimination, visual memory, spatial relations, form constancy, sequential memory, figure ground and visual closure
  • Visual Motor Integration Skills — the use of visual perception and fine motor skills for writing, copying shapes and completing various complex fine motor activities (i.e. constructional)
  • Sensorimotor — self-regulation, postural control, shoulder stability, motor planning skills, body awareness and ocular motor skills
  • Gross Motor Skills -- strength, coordination, balance, eye-hand coordination, ball skills and endurance

Skills addressed in OT sessions vary according to each student’s needs. OT sessions use a wide variety of techniques ranging from arts and crafts projects, pencil and paper work, technology and board games, to strengthening and coordination exercises.

Activities in the Sensorimotor Room use a sensory integrative and/or perceptual motor approach and may include obstacle courses, activity stations, exercises and therapeutic games. Various therapeutic equipment are used, such as scooter boards, a trampoline, therapy balls and several types of swings.

Thinking Maps® are incorporated into treatment sessions to assist with organizing and completing presented activities.

Middle School Occupational Therapy

Middle School Work Center/OT is an extension of Occupational Therapy services for older children at LPS. Skills that are addressed include:

  • Skills and accommodations for sensory, motor and visual perceptual limitations
  • Executive functioning skills such as task initiation, organization, sequencing and problem solving
  • Self-esteem, social skill development and self-awareness as related to the students sense of independence in school and at home

These skill areas are addressed within the context of practical learning experiences. Students engage in various activities involving life skills and age appropriate “jobs” around the school. Students may be involved in the following activities in Work Center/OT:

  • Calendar/monthly planner skills activities
  • Phone skills activities
  • Basic cooking skills
  • Clerical tasks
  • School/community service activities

Work related vocabulary and basic work behaviors are emphasized throughout the curriculum. Various tools are used to address skill development.

  • Organizational tools, such as “To Do” lists, calendars and task cards help students to initiate, problem solve, sequence and organize tasks
  • Thinking Maps® incorporated into activities assist students with initiation, organization, sequencing, problem solving and overall independence

Rating sheets are completed at the end of each class to give students feedback on their performance in individual skills, such as initiation, organization, problem solving, sequencing, collaborating and time management.


The ACT Program (Activate/Calm/Think)

Many students at LPS have mild to significant issues with sensory processing and modulating their level of arousal. These difficulties can have a significant impact on the student’s readiness to learn, ability to focus and overall performance in the classroom. The Occupational Therapy Department developed a simple strategic program to assist faculty in the classroom and therapy sessions.

These activities teach students to “Activate/Calm/Think” and therefore prepare their systems to learn.

LPS faculty is trained on the ACT Program, including the specific movement activities and ways in which to incorporate the process into their classes. ACT posters demonstrating the program activities are in all of the classrooms. These activities, which only take a few minutes to perform, may be done at the start of each class as part of the students’ routine. Activities can also be performed during the midpoint of the period or during class transitions if the teacher wants to re-focus students. These activities also provide much needed and legitimate “movement breaks” in a structured manner.

The program consists of five simple movement activities that can be completed in a variety of ways. Each activity is designed to provide specific sensory input, which have a “grounding” effect as well as provide other sensory stimulation.

  1. Reach up to the sky then touch toes
  2. Jump
  3. Stretch at your desk while sitting or standing
  4. Apply pressure by pushing on head or with hands together
  5. Toss a weighted beanbag
  6. March in place

Over time, our goal is for the students to learn how to independently use these strategies in school, as well as other areas of their lives.


Speech and Language

The LPS Speech and Language Department is made up of licensed, board-certified speech and language pathologists. Our focus on communication disorders allows us to address a variety of deficits that affect oral, written and social language, as well as disorders in oral motor production, articulation, voice and central auditory processing disorders. Treatment for students in Elementary and Middle Schools involve direct weekly pull-out services so that individual goals can be addressed in a clinical, therapeutic setting.

Students who attend High School receive intervention either through small group services or through push-in services, where clinicians co-teach with classroom ELA teachers and reinforce strategies previously addressed in Middle School.

Assistive Technology Devices and Services

Many children with disabilities have difficulties with reading, writing, and math. Some children have problems with vision, hearing, listening and/or communicating. Others have physical, mobility, and motor problems. Assistive technology helps children use their strengths to compensate or "work around" weaknesses caused by the disability. Assistive technology includes "devices" and "services."

IDEA 2004 requires IEP teams to consider the assistive technology needs of all children with disabilities. (20 U.S.C. 1414(d)(3)(B)(v))

The IEP team makes decisions about assistive technology devices and services based on your child’s unique needs so that he can be more confident and independent. The law requires schools to use assistive technology devices and services "to maximize accessibility for children with disabilities." (20 U.S.C. 1400(c)(5)(H))

If the IEP team determines that your child needs assistive technology devices and services, the school district is responsible for providing these and cannot use lack of availability or cost as an excuse.

Note: Assistive technology is not a substitute for teaching your child to read and write.

IDEA defines an 'assistive technology device' as...

any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of a child with a disability. (20 U.S.C. 1401(1))

IDEA defines an 'assistive technology service' as...

any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device. Such term includes -

(A) the evaluation...

(B) purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing for the acquisition of assistive technology devices...

(C) selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying, maintaining, repairing, or replacing...

(D) coordinating and using other therapies, interventions, or services with assistive technology devices...

(D) training or technical assistance for such child, or ...the family of such child...

(F) training or technical assistance for professionals... (20 U.S.C. 1401(2))

Learning Prep School provides an individualized language-based program to students with complex learning profiles, including dyslexia, expressive/receptive language issues, autism spectrum disorder, and social communication disorder.

1507 Washington Street  |  West Newton, MA 02465  |  (617) 965-0764  |  contact  |  © 2017 Learning Prep School

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