More diagnoses mean more special services

With increased diagnoses of autism, schools have to adjust their services as a result.

To those ends, the Curriculum, Instruction and Technology Committee of the Warren County School Board of Directors forwarded two contracts to the full board to enhance the services currently being provided by the Barber National Institute.

The Barber National Institute provides consultative services to the district, but WCSD Director of Pupil Services Patricia Hawley-Horner said, that the need for the service has, “increased throughout the school year.”

She explained that, as the special education department seeks to make changes to special education programming in an attempt to develop more thorough models of services for students, part of the process is recognizing the importance of behavioral and mental health, as well as a parent outreach component that Barber can provide.

Administration recommended that the service be expanded to 10 hours a week, 40 hours a month, for the 2013-2014 academic year.

On top of the behavior specialist consultation and mobile therapy that will be provided, the agreement calls for Barber National Institute to bring two, six-hour training days to the district for district autistic support and emotional support staff.

“Their staff comes to our facility,” Hawley-Horner said.

Each training day will cost $384, $768 in total. The actual services provided will be billed at a rate of $64 per-hour.

Hawley-Horner said that providing training to the district staff in these programs has been a priority.

“All across the country, autism is being diagnosed at greater levels,” CIT Chairman Dr. Paul Yourchisin said.

Hawley-Horner said that one in 50 currently receive the diagnosis.

An additional contract was also forwarded to the full board for action for the same service to be provided during the extended school year program, which runs from July 8 through July 26. Barber National Institute agreed to provide three hours per-week of consultative services during that period.

“Students who are challenged emotionally or cognitively actually lose more of their retained information over the summer than non-special education students,” Yourchisin explained, noting that the summer program helps limit the degree to which students have to play catch up in subsequent years.