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Overview

Erie 1 BOCES Special Education provides programs which are designed for students with disabilities whose instructional needs cannot be appropriately served by their local school district.  Special education classes, for students ages 5-21, are hosted within our component school districts. 

 A team effort by related services itinerant professionals supports the classroom teacher in meeting the demands of the New York State Common Core Learning Standards.  The following itinerant services are provided, based on the student’s IEP:  speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, itinerant hearing services, itinerant vision services and social work counseling.

Special programs exist to specifically meet the needs of students with autism, behavior disorders and students who have previously not been successful in a traditional public school setting.  Transition services are an important part of the curriculum for all Special Education students.  Students have an opportunity to participate in a simulated workshop and in community internships.

For all students, learning is based on the New York State Common Core Learning Standards.

Special Education
Audiology program brings crystal-clear sound to students

Zachary Kriger, a fourthgrade student at Maryvale Intermediate, utilizes FM equipment in school. With assistance from Corinne Jackson, seen here in pink, Zachary can now listen to the lessons provided by his teacher, Jennifer McKinlay.With technology seemingly changing in the blink of an eye, Erie 1 BOCES is continuing its commitment to offer the most up-to-date equipment for its Audiology and Hearing Support programs.

Audiology offers a wide array of services to identify and address hearing-based learning difficulties in the classroom. This includes hearing evaluations to diagnose a hearing problem, audio consultations with a licensed audiologist and hearing loss remediation to help address auditory deficiencies in the classroom, according to Laura Gioia, licensed educational audiologist.

“Students with hearing deficiencies continue to be recognized as having a true deficit in the classroom, and fortunately, districts continue to reach out for BOCES Audiology services,” Gioia pointed out. “With all the latest technological upgrades, hearing-assistive technologies – commonly referred to as FM systems, or Frequency Modulation systems – are becoming more accepted by students who use them.”

Gioia holds a New York State Audiology license, as well as a New York State Hearing Aid Dispensing license, giving her the proper qualifications to help her distinguish between hearing-based difficulties (e.g. hearing loss) and other circumstances (e.g. central auditory processing disorders, or CAPD).

Corinne Jackson, teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing for Erie 1 BOCES, has seen the audiology work of Gioia firsthand. Jackson provides support services for Zachary Kriger, a fourth-grade student at Maryvale Intermediate School who was recently diagnosed with a bilateral hearing loss and utilizes a cochlear implant.

“I’ve seen just how much the FM equipment enhances our students’ listening abilities and comprehension skills in a dynamic classroom,” Jackson noted. “During a lesson, the teacher divided the class into teams of two to complete a visual project based on a book the class had read. When the peer team member that Zachary was working with began speaking into the FM microphone, he began to fully participate and became completely engaged as the peer was speaking – there was a look of complete understanding.”

Jackson added the FM system was absolutely instrumental in this success. She said without it, background noise can interfere and lead to confusion, a lack of understanding and disengagement.

“It was an absolute joy to see how this technology enhanced the interaction between the two students and supported a successful end result of a project,” she concluded.

Roughly 170 students receive services through the Audiology and Hearing Support program. In the same vein, 390 pieces of equipment stand ready to help those in need of hearing-focused assistance. Gioia’s responsibilities include reviewing incoming audiologic data and testing as needed. Only then can she choose, program and dispense the appropriate FM system.

Audiology’s Audio Consultation Program (ACP) service includes monthly checks to ensure a student’s hearing device and FM are working properly. If a problem is discovered, Erie 1 BOCES troubleshoots to figure out a solution or provides needed replacements.

To learn more about the Audiology and Hearing Support program, contact Gioia at (716) 821-7023.

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