Santa Barbara County Education Office - ZACA Center



Integrated Therapy and Infusing Goals

Leana Watson: Parent
When Alec had therapy at ZACA we did a couple of things. One is a therapist would come in and work with a group of children, with him and maybe three or four other children and work on a fine motor skill. She would grab a few kids, including Alec, and work on a lacing project or a cutting project so none of the other children really knew that anyone was having therapy. They just thought this teacher was coming in and doing this cool project with them and it would just be that Alec was always in the group, but that was so over the children’s head. They didn’t notice that at all. Alec never felt isolated, he never felt that he was pulled away from an activity that all of his friends were doing. The other children didn’t even notice it.

The other thing, is that we would sometimes meet right before I would drop him off at school and have a therapy right before or a therapy right after but most of his therapy was done within the classroom setting but without him being isolated. When we had the APE instructor come and do physical therapy and adaptive PE, she would grab a few of the kids and come out and do a kicking relay thing with a few of the children. So, it was a way where Alec got therapy in an integrated program where the other children that didn’t have special needs also got great therapy. They got great practice doing fine motor things and great practice with gross motor things. The speech was especially great and really needed and benefited from children that did not have special needs because the child with special needs got to see how the other children responded correctly and modeled correct speech pronunciation and speech response and interaction with each other. So, that child with special needs was in a group of four, five, or six peers, three of whom did not have special needs and was able to see that interaction.

My child got therapy in a way that he didn’t even really know that he was having therapy. With a child like mine who had a lot of special needs and a lot of therapy, he was done with therapy, so it had to be presented in a way that was fun. But, also, I didn’t want him isolated and I didn’t want him to be the kid who was pulled out, and I didn’t want him to be the child, with peers but also and more importantly, in his own eyes, I did not want him to feel like he was different or less or not as good in any of these areas and ZACA did a fabulous job of constantly integrating the therapy.

Sheila Ammons: Educator
Because we do full inclusion that means that there is not a separate class for the students that I work with. They are with the rest of the group of the students, really, the whole time they are here. Instead of them coming to me, I go and find them wherever they are at, look at what they are doing, and give them some strategies and tools to participate in that activity.

Leana Watson: Parent
The teachers did all of their art projects utilizing fine motor stuff with cutting, lacing, and gluing, even pulling off stickers which is such a fine motor activity that we don’t even think about. Not only was my child getting therapy with the actual professional therapist, he was getting therapy and all of the things that every child needs in preschool. Three hours of preschool were really three hours of social therapy, physical therapy, fine-motor therapy, speech therapy, peer modeling, and it was a tremendous asset for my child, for both of my children.

Sheila Ammons: Educator
Because there’s a lot of teachers, it is a challenge to make time to work with each of the teachers and keep them updated of what is currently happening, what different strategies we are trying, how to change what we are already doing. Just to give that daily feedback to each of the teachers and the instructional assistants, it’s challenging to make contact with the wide variety of people.

At this point we have a pretty slick system so that I’m able to say, pretty briefly, what I need to, in terms of provide more support, or provide less support. We always work towards independence so one of the issues is providing too much support. Then the kids aren’t able to do as many of the skills as they need to by themselves. We have a written form so that if I think of feedback to give, I can write it and leave it in the teachers' mailboxes. For the goals specifically in the IEP, they are targeted all of the time that the kids are here. What’s nice about ZACA Center is that the general ed teachers know first hand what the goals for each of the students are so that they are able to, during lesson plan time, target those skills and give all of the class practice with those goals. I’m able to collect data both through observation and through what the general ed teachers tell me the students did during specific activities.