Specialized Therapy Program
In support of student development and learning, The Paragon School offers several different group therapies to students during the school day.
These specialized therapies can make a profound difference to a student's ability to focus on class lessons and manage his or her own behavior and choices. Our therapy program is specially designed for Paragon students and is included as an integrated part of the school day.
Certified speech-language pathologists through the Center for Speech & Language provide speech therapy.
Speech and language therapy takes place during the school day for students with a demonstrated need.
Articulation skills are targeted which includes the correct pronunciation of sounds and speech clarity. Oral motor skills are also addressed to increase strength and coordination of the muscles of the mouth necessary for speech.
Increasing receptive and expressive language skills in the areas of answering questions, expanding vocabulary and following directions are addressed using engaging activities while building confidence in communication and self-advocacy.
The desired outcome is to enhance or improve overall speech intelligibility, improve strength and coordination of the mouth muscles, and increase receptive and expressive language, skills which can affect all areas of academics and social success.
The approach is successful because therapy techniques are based on a combination of research-based programs and clinical expertise. Engaging the child and creating a positive experience in therapy can boost his or her knowledge, skills and self-esteem.
All students participate in two separate occupational therapy (OT) initiatives.
On a daily basis, students participate in NeuroNet, a research-based learning readiness program designed to help students develop fluency in essential reading, math, and handwriting skills. NeuroNet programs center around four key concepts:
1. Learn Independently
Watch and learn, then think and do.
Engage in productive trial and error problem solving.
2. Make the speed and accuracy network
Develop fluency in early reading, handwriting, and math skills.
Learn how to use what you know to enhance new learning.
3. Get your brain to practice what you want your brain to learn
To develop fluency, you must practice fluency.
4. Self-evaluation is the key to motivation
Learn to self-evaluate and to equate effort and practice with improvements in performance.
For more information on NeuroNet, visit www.neuronetlearning.com
Group Occupational Therapy
On a weekly basis, students participate in group occupational therapy (OT).
Our occupational therapy program sets itself apart by integrating traditional Hatha Yoga and primary reflex re-patterning (aka primitive reflex integration) with specific breathing techniques.
The weekly program is designed to improve sensory processing, balance, posture and motor coordination. The techniques support emotional regulation and decreased anxiety.
Meditation, mindfulness and deep relaxation techniques are practiced to increase activation in the pre-frontal cortex which is responsible for executive functioning. These techniques also increase students' resilience to stress.
Group OT offers students the opportunity for quiet reflection as they learn to use tools to manage their thoughts, feelings and emotions. Therapy sessions begin with whole body movement, followed by breathing exercises for quieting the body and mind to enable meditation and relaxation.
Students learn the benefits of doing each exercise and use flexible mindset strategies so they will know how and when to incorporate these techniques on an independent basis.
Music therapy impacts many non-musical goals.
In every music therapy session, students work on mutual regulation, age-appropriate social skills and being able to work as a team to play a piece of music, as well as increasing cognitive, motor and proprioceptive skills. Students learn to play different instruments causing them to cross their midline, engaging in unilateral and bilateral coordination. Students also play simple sequences and understand written music. This is a workout for the brain engaging the occipital lobe, frontal lobe and corpus callosum, making the right brain “talk” to the left brain.
The students perform what they have learned in music class for their peers, teachers, and families twice a year. The pride students take in their accomplishments increases their self-esteem.
When you set high expectations students will rise to them. You have to see the human being first and the challenges of autism second. The students have to feel that they are valued no matter what their ability is. Music therapy is successful because it is work disguised as fun. While adaptions are made and needed, each student is pushed to their full potential. The students enjoy playing instruments and working towards a goal of performing as a group for their peers, teachers and family.
Amy Gower, Music Therapist