Creating a Program in a Public School
How do DIR Consultants get Involved?

· A Parent Contacts the Consultant with the Desire to Incorporate DIR into Their Child's Existing Program
· A Parent Contacts the Consultant with the Desire to Create a New DIR Program
· A School District Contacts the Consultant to Improve an Individual Child's Existing Program
· A School District Contacts the Consultant with the Desire to Create a New Program for an Individual Child
· A School District Contacts the Consultant with the Desire to Improve an Entire Special Education Program

1. What You Need to Get Started

Creativity
Optimism
Confidence
Patience
Respect

· A Thorough Understanding of the Child's Developmental Profile (Including Strengths and Weaknesses)
· Background Information on the Child, Family and the School District
· A Clear Vision of how You Want to Meet the Child's Individual Developmental Needs

 

2. A Clear Vision of How You Want to Meet the Child's Individual Developmental NeedsCreativity

A. Identify the Best Program to Meet the Child's Developmental Needs

Hybrid-Part Time Home and Part Time School (Types 3&4)
Self Contained Classroom (Types 2,3, &4)
Self Contained/Partial Inclusion (Types 2&3)
Full Inclusion (Types 1&2)
Mainstream (Type 1)

B. Where will this Program Happen?

What School or Classroom?

C. Considerations When Deciding on Program Placement

· Child's Individual Functioning Level

· Processing Challenges/Motor Planning
· Adaptive and Coping Abilities
· Regulation/Attention
· Ability to Stay Engaged
· Ability to be Intentional and Purposeful
· Ability to Problem Solve and be Independent
· Ability to Elaborate on Ideas/Symbolic Thinking
· Ability to Reason/Emotional Thinking

· Anxiety, Sense of Self and Self Esteem
· Ability to Relate to Peers
· A Child can't do in a Group, or with a Peer, what They can't do with You
· Class Size/Stimulation Levels
· Positive Peer Models
· Pace and Structure of Classroom
· Attitudes, Flexibility and Quality of Staff/Administration
· Least Restrictive Environment
· Most Successful Environment
· An Environment Where the Child can Make Significant Developmental Progress, Learn, Experience Success, Independence, Make Friends and Feel Good About Themselves

3. Building a Relationship with School Staff

· Listen, Observe, Respect
· Identify the Strong Points of the Existing Program and Build on Them.
· Stay Positive
· Collaborate, don't Dictate
· Form a Team, not a Hierarchy
· Use Dialog School Staff can Relate to and Connect with/Don't Overwhelm them with Clinical Jargon
· We can Learn from School Staff. They can Teach us New ways to Approach the Child. They can also Help Identify Developmental Weaknesses that can be targeted using DIR in both the School and Home environments. This is Sometimes a Good Way in!
· Use Concrete Examples to Illustrate Theory and Bridge the Gap Between Disciplines
· Support Staff in Small Steps/Make Reality-based Recommendations
· Set up for Success

4. Setting Preliminary Goals

· Use the Child's Developmental Profile, Parent and Staff Concerns to Develop Goals
· This may Include the Fusing of New DIR Goals with the Modification of Existing IEP Goals
· These Preliminary Goals will Guide Both the Training of the Team and the Structuring of the Program

5. Training

· Interdisciplinary Team Training Should Occur Prior the Start of the Program

· This Should Include Everyone Involved with the Child's Program (Parents, Teachers, Speech, OT, and PT Therapists, Aides, Specials Teachers and Home Therapists)
· Student Should be Observed at Their Current Placement by the Staff in the New Environment

· Theory Should Include an Understanding of:

· Sensory Processing Challenges
· Developmental Milestones
· Child's Individual Strengths, Weaknesses and Needs/Goals
· An Understanding of how Processing Challenges/Developmental Profiles directly effect Learning, Socialization, Behavior and Independence

· Clearly Illustrate Practice and Principles Using Concrete Examples

· Provide Examples of Principles to be Used in the Classroom at Each Developmental Level
· Give Clear Examples of How to Target the Child's Individual Goals
· Help Staff Reflect on Their own Experiences with the Child that Relate to these Principles and Goals (if possible)
· Break Down Concepts
· Keep it Simple
· Give Positive Feedback/Build Confidence
· Constantly Refer to the Developmental Levels and How they Relate to What You are Doing with the Child
· THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IS GETTING STAFF TO THINK DEVELOPMENTALLY AND UNDERSTAND THAT ACADEMICS NEED STRONG SOCIAL, EMOTIONAL AND COGNITIVE FOUNDATIONS TO BUILD UPON

Regulation -> Focus -> Interaction -> Thinking -> Learning -> Independence

 

6. Structuring the Program

Key Points to Remember

· The Goal is to Create a Program that Allows the Child Make Significant Developmental Progress, to Learn, Experience Success, Independence, Make Friends and Feel Good About Themselves
· When you Maximize Independence and Self Esteem (Sense of Self), You Reduce Anxiety which Allows for Better Processing and Increases Academic and Social Success
· DIR Goals and Principles Should be Incorporated into Every Aspect of the Program
· The Program Should Include Follow the Child's Lead FT, Semi-Structured FT and Sensory Motor/Motor Planning Support and Development as Dictated by the Child's INDIVIDUAL Developmental Profile


The Classroom(s)

· Class Size/Stimulation Levels
· Positive Peer Models
· Pace and Structure of Classroom
· Visual Supports
· Location of Child's Personal Space
· Using Space
· Floor Time Area
· Sensory Area
· A Place for a Break


Staff

· All Staff Involved in the Child's Program Should Facilitate DIR Goals
· Don't Leave it all up to the Personal Aide
· The Child Must Learn to Relate to a Range of Staff and Peers to Support the Improvement of Processing Abilities and Independence
· The School Psychologist or Guidance Counselor Might Run Lunch Bunch
· Communication Between all Team Members is Crucial


Materials

· Materials Should be Varied to Support the Improvement of Processing Abilities
· Toys Should be Available to all Team Members and Easily Accessible to the Child when Appropriate
· Visual Supports and Modifications Should be Kept Organized and Easily Accessible to the Team
· A DIR Box of Materials may be Kept in the Classroom and Available when the Child Requires Them (ex. A visitor comes in to give a lecture. The Child Goes to Floor Time with their Aide)


Scheduling: Make Every Minute Count

· Don't Schedule Activities for the Child that are Developmentally Inappropriate (ex. A long circle time for a child with very poor auditory processing)
· Consider Processing Abilities in all Environments
· Consider the Child's Ability to be Successful

· A Child can't do in a Group, or with a Peer, what They can't do with You


· Consider the Child's Level of Independence for Each Activity (Anxiety/Self Esteem)
· How Much One on One?
· Minimize Transitions

· To Support Processing, Independence and Reduce Anxiety


· Incorporate Sensory Support and Breaks
· Include Daily Peer Involvement

· Lunch and Recess (Lunch Bunch)
· Floor Time
· In the Classroom


· Set up Specials to be Successful

7. Developing an IEP