Related and Supportive Services

Supportive services are those services required to assist students with disabilities to benefit from special education services. Supportive services include, but not limited to, speech pathology, audiology, counseling services, psychological services, physical therapy and occupational therapy, recreation, and medical services for diagnostic or evaluation purposes. The term also includes school health services, social work services in schools, and parent counseling and training. All supportive services are provided by appropriately certified or licensed professionals or appropriately supervised support staff. Available to SVRSU 12’s students with disabilities, as determined by the I.E.P., are the following services:

Students receive assessment, consultation, remediation and counseling as part of the treatment of speech and language conditions such as language-based learning disabilities, voice disorder, stuttering, articulation disorders, ADD & ADHD, word retrieval deficits, executive function impairment, deaf and hearing impairment.All children entering the school system are screened in the area of speech/language and phonological awareness. The Speech and Language program provides a multi-sensory approach to speech/language development. After a child is evaluated, recommendations will be made regarding what areas of speech/language skills need to be addressed. In-depth testing is necessary to determine what kind of speech/language services are needed.  The following are many different areas of speech/language development that can be addressed depending on the needs of the student:

  • language deficits, including difficulties in both understanding and verbal production of vocabulary/grammar, and receptive/expressive language delays
  • phonological awareness skills
  • articulation skills (production of specific sounds and/or error sound patterns)
  • voice impairments
  • social skills/pragmatic language
  • fluency/stuttering
  • strategies for compensating for a hearing impairment, an auditory processing disorder in the classroom, and/or a word finding deficit
  • developing functional communication skills and strengthening pre-communication skills
  • augmentative/alternative communication for those with limited verbal language
  • checking and maintaining the use of hearing aids and FM systems (auditory trainers) used in the classroom
  • receptive/expressive language delays
  • hearing impairment
  • language processing difficulties

Sessions may consist of turn taking activities, conversation, written work, listening activities, role playing, social stories, reading, and/or art activities. Students will receive direct and indirect instruction for their targeted skill area(s), as well as modeling of targeted skills by the speech/language pathologist. Therapy sessions are usually in small groups, with similarly aged peers. Strategies are taught to children with Central Auditory Processing Disorders (CAPD), Autism, and Hearing Impairment to improve their classroom performance.

An important component of the program is assessment. Each child recommended for intervention must be evaluated and meet the criteria for identification of a handicapping condition of speech/language. Evaluative tools are kept current. Computer programs, augmentative communication devices, and hands-on materials are used to meet the multi-sensory needs of students. Speech Pathologists keep up to date through staff development and personal reading, and consult with specialists in and outside of the district to meet the needs of the students.

Computer programs, augmentative communication devices, and hands-on materials are used to meet the multi-sensory needs of students. Speech pathologists keep up to date through staff development and personal reading. They consult with specialists in and outside of the district to meet the needs of the students.

Speech Pathologists:

Chelsea Elementary School: Holly Cote
Palermo Elementary School and Erskine Academy: Sharon Peabody
Whitefield Elementary School: Suzanne Frankhauser
Windsor Elementary School: Melanie Lajoie


Occupational Therapy (OT) deals with whatever occupies your time. For a preschool child, OT services may teach skills such as dressing, following directions, or playing with toys. For a K-12 grade student, OT services will teach skills that help with reading, writing, and physical participation. OT’s are concerned with a child’s ability to get the most out of his/her school day. Therapy that is provided in a hospital or an outpatient clinic has a different purpose than therapy in a school.

In the school setting, Occupational Therapy is a “related service” to Special Education under Part B of the Individuals with Education Act (IDEA). This means that for a student to qualify to receive OT service they must also be receiving other services as determined by the student’s “team” (see Special Education Handbook for definition). OT can never be the only service provided.

  • The school Occupational Therapist will look at skills like:
  • hand strength and coordination for writing and drawing
  • visual skills for copying from the board or following words across a page
  • balance and trunk strength to allow a student to sit quietly for desk work

The school Occupational Therapist may provide services such as:

  • direct therapy with the student in the classroom or in a separate space
  • consultation with the teacher by phone, email or conversation
  • making changes to the environment
  • providing special equipment
  • staff training
District-wide providers:  Christine Abate, Stephanie Miller

A school-based physical therapist has the same medically-based training as a physical therapist working in a hospital or a clinic. The goal of a school therapist is to make sure that students with physical disabilities can access public education in the school environment and maximize their potential. This is accomplished through assessment or evaluation, planning of goals and objectives, and implementation of these goals through an I.E.P. The physical therapist deals with abnormalities of the skeletal, muscular and/or neurological systems of the body which can cause problems in position or movement.

Position: Does the child sit or stand in a position that optimizes his/her ability to learn and to move? Will this position minimize deformity and abnormal motor patterns? (This may include consultation for orthotics, wheelchairs, and adaptive seating.)

Movement: Does the child move his/her body through space in a developmentally appropriate and functional manner? (This may include a consideration of motor development, motor skills, muscle tone, strength, endurance, balance and coordination activities, gait training, strengthening and endurance work. It may include motor development and inhibition of abnormal tone. Techniques are taught to teachers and ed. tech. staff by the physical therapist so that each individual child has daily carryover to maximize his/her position and movement.

  • visual skills for copying from the board or following words across a page
  • balance and trunk strength to allow a student to sit quietly for desk work

District-wide provider:  Regan Tyler

A School Psychologist administers comprehensive psychoeducational assessments to aid in identification of students requiring special education services. Testing and recommendations may involve cognitive, developmental, processing, attentional, behavioral and emotional aspects as needed. Our School Psychologist also acts as a consultant to school personnel and parents/caretakers of students in the Sheepscot Valley RSU 12 schools. 

District-wide provider:  Melinda Renda,

District-wide provider:  Gabriel Schuft