I am a Special Educator at Lincoln Sudbury Regional High School. I have worked in the Learning Center over the past six years. In my mind, the Learning Center is a place that offers services and specialized instruction to students that have moderate disabilities. We focus on helping students become or maintain success in the general curriculum with the hope that they will gradually become independent. Many times that means providing direct instruction and support in the areas of need based on a students IEP.
I’d like to think the Learning Center is a very welcoming place to my students. They can come any free blocks they want, even if it is not necessarily on their service delivery grid on their IEP. (Which many students do) The Learning Center is a check in spot for some students, a place of familiarity, comfort, and where a student knows they are cared for and will be helped. This may sound a little vain, but part of the service I feel like I provide is overall academic support, so that students know that when they come to LC, they will be around someone that genuinely understands their disability. Some of the services the Learning Center can currently provide:
- helping carry out modifications and accommodations on the IEP
- communication with regular education teachers to make sure they are informed and reminded of a students’ condition and work with them to help students be most successful
- use assistive technology when we need to
- carry out small group and one on one instruction/support in several areas:
- organizational skills
- executive functioning development
- instructional assistance in applying study skill strategies i.e. test taking strategies, how to study for assessments, how to take notes, etc…
- written language
- emotional and social skill development
- college planning and SAT/ACT accommodation and support
- overall transition planning with help of guidance department
Typically, the Learning Center serves students who are on an IEP and who need direct services because of a broad spectrum of communication and learning needs. Most students that I have on my caseload are on IEP’s for many different types of challenges such as:
*ADD, hyperactivity, and inattentive type or other Heath Disabilities (personally I think this is relative to the executive functioning diagnosis, but I will list them separately)
*Specific Learning Disabilities in reading, writing, math, reasoning, listening, and speaking (written language (dysgraphia), many of my students have difficulty with expressive language, lack detail, spelling and have difficulty making inferences) (reading, many of my students are either dyslexic, or slow readers (reading speed and fluency are an issue) who have trouble with many vocabulary and comprehension of works that they read) (math, dyscalculia, many students have difficulty with multi step math problems, problems with math application, or just overall, poor calculation skills.
- Executive Functioning
- Behavior Challenges; this is not typical to have students with Behavior Problems in Learning Center… However, I happen to have one student with a behavioral goal who has impulsive behavior. I think he fits right in and appropriate for LC even though he has a behavior goal.
- General Anxiety; in the past, I’ve had students with Math anxiety, test anxiety, and general anxiety. One student I currently have had school phobia freshmen year. We desensitize him back into LC on a modified schedule. He is now a junior and doing great despite some anxiety around school.
- Neurological Disabilities; one example is that I have a student that has epilepsy and has a history of seizures, which has lead to impaired memory, although he is still very bright. This student needs LC to take tests and quizzes, to ease his thoughts, and to use strategies that may help trigger his memory
By no means is this the standardization of the Learning Center… We work with and have worked with students with many other disorders. We try our best to service students in the least restrictive environments while accessing the general curriculum. We have several programs at Lincoln-Sudbury that service students with special needs.