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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
Assistive devices foster student participation

Students in Melissa DiGuiseppe’s special education classroom are thriving with the help of assistive devices.

Josalyn Rivera, left, focuses on her assistive device while teacher Melissa DiGuiseppe, right, helps with classwork.
Assistive devices in the classroom include iPads, DynaVox’s and Nova Chats. These various tools help DiGuiseppe’s students communicate in ways they would not have been able to prior to the introduction of technology into the classroom.

“It gives my students a voice,” said DiGuiseppe. “It helps them tell me their needs and wants, and helps them do their classwork.”

Far from being a distraction in the classroom, assistive devices provide an opportunity for students of all capacities to participate in class and take part in activities.

Each week we take a current event from the newspaper and the students have to look at the picture and find something on their devices to describe what it is about,” said DiGuiseppe, regarding how her students use devices to interact with world events.

Marcia Partacz also utilizes assistive devices in her classroom to help facilitate communication and has had great success.

“For those individuals with disabilities, technology allows them the ability to just do it,” Partacz mentioned. “By using certain technologies, the student is given the tools to help compensate for their disability, therefore putting them on a level playing field with their peers.”

Assistive devices have meant more to students than simply completing tasks set in the classroom. According to both DiGuiseppe and Partacz, these devices provide an opportunity for independence. Though some students are unable to actively use motor functions needed to hold a pencil, the iPad and DynaVox allow each student to become a part of the community.
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