Inclusion Outreach is an outreach service mandated to assist schools throughout British Columbia, in meeting the educational needs of students with multiple severe physical and cognitive disabilities. A team, consisting of a teacher, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, and speech-language pathologist provide support through a variety of services.
The philosophical foundation that guides our practice is based on the belief that educational programs for students with disabilities must enhance their current and future quality of life. Learning objectives must be functional, meaningful and address presence, choice, competence, respect, and inclusion as a framework for planning and accountability in a student’s school program.
The focus of this program is two-fold:
Prior to the visit we collect assessment information and connect with our school-based team counterparts (i.e., the teacher on the team will contact the resource teacher or school-based case manager and the parents; the S-LP on our team contacts your S-LP and our therapist contacts your therapists). Student websites are now being developed when the student’s referral has been accepted. The websites contain suggested curriculum and resources to support the student’s school program, and are secure and password protected.
Typical visits are scheduled Wednesday through Friday and our team arrives at the school on Wednesday as early as travel permits to meet the student and their team. Mostly we observe although (truth be told) we’re pretty hands on and bring big bags of equipment to try out. Sometimes therapists make arrangements to meet each other on the Wednesday or Thursday to touch base and work together. Wednesday after school we offer two options if desired: a PATH (Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope) session for the student and their family, or a District Inservice.
All day Thursday we work with the student and their team at school while trying out and modelling strategies to facilitate inclusion, active participation, communication and learning. We try to be unobtrusive but we are in and out of classrooms with the student throughout the school day.
On Friday morning we hold a three hour meeting with the school team, family, therapists and others to present our suggestions based on our time with the student. Districts agree in advance to provide release time for school staff (i.e., resource teacher, classroom teacher(s) and educational assistant) to attend the meeting. On Friday afternoon the Inclusion Outreach team leaves to travel home and the school team continues to meet to develop an implementation plan. Inclusion Outreach will upload reports and resources to the student website and work with the school-based case manager to use the website and provide follow up.