The LPS Difference
What makes Learning Prep School unique?
A lot, but providing a language-based program with the following supports included is what makes the difference for many students.
Within the Speech and Language Department, services are individualized to target skills and strategies within the broader domains of receptive, expressive, and pragmatic language. Students are explicitly taught foundational language concepts and strategies, and then supported to generalize and maintain those skills and strategies across all settings. While goal areas depend on the specific needs of each student, targeted concepts can include vocabulary and word retrieval, organization of language, language processing and memory, language comprehension, abstract/higher-level language, and social language. Direct services and frequency are determined by the IEP.
Skills addressed in OT sessions vary according to each student's needs. A wide variety of techniques are utilized, ranging from arts and crafts projects, pencil-and-paper work, technology and board games, to strengthening and coordination exercises. As students progress, 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. Work-related vocabulary and basic work behaviors are emphasized throughout the curriculum while developing executive functioning skills. Direct services and frequency are determined by the IEP. Common skills that are being practiced at LPS include:
- Cutting and pasting
- Time management
- Shoe tying
- Managing schoolwork
- Calendar skills
- Time & money skills
- Preparing for college
- Teamwork & collaboration
Our approach to social communication utilizes Michelle Garcia Winner's Social Thinking(c) concepts, which view social skills as dynamic and situational that evolve from thinking about how one wants to be perceived. Because all LPS staff utilize these concepts, they have a common understanding of the foundational skills and knowledge to create successful social communication and can help to foster the development of these skills. Additional support for social communication is provided through positive reinforcement as well as speech and health classes, where pragmatic skills are taught.
Since 2002, Learning Prep School began using a new system of visual tools called Thinking Maps®. Developed by Dr. David Hyerle in 1988, he figured out that every person analyzes information in 8 different ways. From this understanding, he developed a set of visual tools for understanding and mastering these eight thinking processes in a way that is clearly defined and helps students to think on their own, and process information independently.
All students at Learning Prep School use Thinking Maps®, starting from their first day here. Since all staff are trained and use them on a regular basis, students develop an automaticity with them and are able to apply critical thinking skills to problem-solve and develop higher-level, abstract thinking. Because Thinking Maps® works in every grade, in every subject, in every elective, and at any level of academic activity, we have found that students are able to more quickly and effectively grasp and retain new concepts, given that they are used in every class by each teacher. Through their use, students can organize and see their own thinking and teachers can then use the completed maps to observe the students' thinking processes.
Our school-based 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. The Counseling Department consists of licensed, masters-level clinicians who see students for weekly counseling, provide check-ins, case management, and teach Health and Student Issues classes. Frequent communication with staff, parents and outside professionals assists with individualized progress toward social emotional goals.