ESE Programs

Autism Spectrum Disorder is defined to be a range of pervasive developmental disorders that adversely affects a student's functioning and results in the need for specially designed instruction and related services. Autism Spectrum Disorder is characterized by an uneven developmental profile and a pattern of qualitative impairments in social interaction, communication, and the presence of restricted repetitive, and/or stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, or activities. These characteristics may manifest in a variety of combinations and range from mild to severe. Autism Spectrum Disorder may include Autistic Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, Asperger’s Disorder, or other related pervasive developmental disorders.

Technical Assistance Contact: Denisse Santos

The Autism Support Team for the Polk County Schools provides information to schools, parents and students about Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) such as Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder. We consult with schools and support the staff and students when needed, as well as, offer a variety of trainings for teachers, support staff, and administrators. The team provides information to parents about various supports offered in our community.

A student who is deaf or hard-of-hearing has a hearing loss aided or unaided, that impacts the processing of linguistic information and which adversely affects performance in the educational environment. The degree of loss may range from mild to profound.

Contact: Teri Crace, 534-0930

Technical Assistance Contact: Kim Vandervort

Click here to view the Deaf / Hard of Hearing Webpage for more information.

A student is classified as developmentally delayed when: A. the child is between birth and two (2) years of age with a delay in one or more of the following:

  1. adaptive or self-help development
  2. cognitive development
  3. communication development
  4. social/emotional development
  5. physical/motor development

or B. the child is a prekindergarten child who is three (3) through five (5) years of age and is developmentally delayed in one or more of the following areas:

  1. adaptive or self-help
  2. cognitive
  3. communication
  4. social or emotional
  5. physical: includes fine, gross, or perceptual motor

Contact: Gregory Kent, 863-534-0930

A student who has dual-sensory impairments affecting both vision and hearing, the combination of which causes a serious impairment in the abilities to acquire information, communicate, or function within the environment, or who has a degenerative condition which will lead to such an impairment.

Contact: Teri Crace, 534-0930

Technical Assistance Contact: Kim Vandervort

A student with an emotional/behavioral disability has persistent (is not sufficiently responsive to implemented evidence based interventions) and consistent emotional or behavioral responses that adversely affect performance in the educational environment that cannot be attributed to age, culture, gender, or ethnicity.

Technical Assistance Contact: TBD

TBD, Positive Behavior Supports Trainer

  • Definition Includes the Terms:
    • Persistent” - Not sufficiently responsive to implemented “observed” evidenced- based interventions. Exhibited for an extended period of time (6 months prior to referral)
    • Consistent” - Must be exhibited in two or more settings; one setting must be school others may be home, community, and/or transitioning to/from school
  • Requires that emotional/behavioral characteristics be present for at least six months prior to referral, except in “extraordinary circumstances.”
  • Allows for “extraordinary circumstances.”
    • For eligibility determination (prior to 6 months) to address acute onset of mental illness.
    • Exception must be approved by ESE Director.
    • IEP team reviews placement within one year.
  • Adversely affects educational performance in the educational environment that cannot be attributed to age, culture, gender, and ethnicity (compared to peer group.)
  • Requires that schools and evaluation teams consider the student’s response to academic and behavioral interventions (RtI), which have been implemented with fidelity, before making a determination of Emotional Behaviors Disabilities.
  • Eligibility Criteria includes both internal and external factors as a means to identify students.
    • Considered as having an Emotional/Behavioral Disability if they present internal factors that show as feelings, symptoms, or fears
    • These factors may result in both internal and external manifestations.
    • Must prove that “External” factors are a result of “Internal” factors.
    • Cannot be eligible if only “External” factors are present.

Functional Behavioral Assessment and a Positive Behavioral Intervention Plan are required for eligibility determination. Must show that the BIP has been implemented with fidelity.

This classification is applicable for children aged birth through two (2) years of age who are diagnosed with a physical or mental condition known to have a high probability of resulting in developmental delay or disability. Such conditions can include genetic disorders, metabolic disorders, neurological abnormalities and injuries, or severe attachment disorder.

A homebound or hospitalized student is a student who has a medically diagnosed physical or psychiatric condition which is acute or catastrophic in nature, or a chronic illness, or a repeated intermittent illness due to a persisting medical problem and that confines the student to home or hospital, and restricts activities for an extended period of time. Click here to go to the Homebound or Hospitalized web page.

Contact: Teri Crace, 534-0930

Technical Assistance Contact: Lisa Carr

An intellectual disability is defined as significantly below average general intellectual and adaptive functioning manifested during the developmental period, with significant delays in academic skills. Developmental period refers to birth to eighteen (18) years of age.

Technical Assistance Contact: Dr. Jennifer Hughes

Language impairments are disorders of language that interfere with communication, adversely affect performance and/or functioning in the student’s typical learning environment, and result in the need for exceptional student education. A Language impairment is defined as a disorder in one or more of the basic learning processes involved in understanding or in using spoken or written language. These include:

  • Phonology – Phonology is defined as the sound systems of a language and the linguistic conventions of a language that guide the sound selection and sound combinations used to convey meaning;
  • Morphology – Morphology is defined as the system that governs the internal structure of words and the construction of word forms;
  • Syntax – Syntax is defined as the system governing the order and combination of words to form sentences, and the relationships among the elements within a sentence;
  • Semantics – Semantics is defined as the system that governs the meanings of words and sentences; and
  • Pragmatics – Pragmatics is defined as the system that combines language components in functional and socially appropriate communication.

The language impairment may manifest in significant difficulties affecting listening comprehension, oral expression, social interaction, reading, writing, or spelling. A language impairment is not primarily the result of factors related to chronological age, gender, culture, ethnicity, or limited English proficiency.

Technical Assistance Contact: Joanne Stidham

A student who requires occupational therapy is one whose physical, motor, or neuro logical deficits result in a significant dysfunction in daily living skills, academic learning skills, adaptive, social or emotional behaviors in the educational setting. A student is eligible only when there is an existing ESE eligibility area and additional support from the occupational therapist is needed to achieve T/IEP goals.

Contact Teri Crace, 534-0930

Technical Assistance Contact: Judy Sanders

A student who is other health impaired has limited strength, vitality, or alertness due to chronic or acute health problems such as acquired brain injury, anemia, asthma, attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, heart condition, nephritis, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, rheumatic fever, sickle cell, Tourette Syndrome, tuberculosis.

Technical Assistance Contact: Denisse Santos

Orthopedic impairment means a severe skeletal, muscular, or neuromuscular impairment. The term includes impairments resulting from congenital anomalies (e.g. including but not limited to skeletal deformity or spina bifida), and impairments resulting from other causes (e.g., including but not limited to cerebral palsy or amputations).

Technical Assistance Contact: Joanne Stidham

A student who receives physical therapy is one who requires a specially prescribed program directed toward the development, improvement, or restoration of neuromuscular, or sensori-motor function, relief of pain, or control of postural deviations to attain adequate performance and achieve T/IEP goals in an educational setting. A physician’s prescription is required.

Contact Teri Crace, 534-0930

Technical Assistance Contact: Judy Sanders

A specific learning disability is defined as a disorder in one or more of the basic learning processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest in significant difficulties affecting the ability to listen, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematics. Associated conditions may include, but are not limited to, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, or developmental aphasia. A specific learning disability does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of a visual, hearing, motor, intellectual, or emotional/behavioral disability, limited English proficiency, or environmental, cultural, or economic factors

Speech impairments are disorders of speech sounds, fluency, or voice that interfere with communication, adversely affect performance and/or functioning in the educational environment, and result in the need for exceptional student education.

  • Speech sound disorder – A speech sound disorder is a phonological or articulation disorder that is evidenced by the atypical production of speech sounds characterized by substitutions, distortions, additions, or omissions that interfere with intelligibility. A speech sound disorder is not primarily the result of factors related to chronological age, gender, culture, ethnicity, or limited English proficiency.
    • Phonological disorder – A phonological disorder is an impairment in the system of phonemes and phoneme patterns within the context of spoken language.
    • Articulation disorder – An articulation disorder is characterized by difficulty in the articulation of speech sounds that may be due to a motoric or structural problem.
  • Fluency disorder – A fluency disorder is characterized by deviations in continuity, smoothness, rhythm, or effort in spoken communication. It may be accompanied by excessive tension and secondary behaviors, such as struggle and avoidance. A fluency disorder is not primarily the result of factors related to chronological age, gender, culture, ethnicity, or limited English proficiency.

Voice disorder – A voice disorder is characterized by the atypical production or absence of vocal quality, pitch, loudness, resonance, or duration of phonation that is not primarily the result of factors related to chronological age, gender, culture, ethnicity, or limited English proficiency.

Technical Assistance Contact: Joanne Stidham

A traumatic brain injury means an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both, that adversely affects educational performance. The term applies to mild, moderate, or severe, open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one (1) or more areas such as cognition, language, memory, attention, reasoning, abstract thinking, judgment, problem-solving, sensory, perceptual and motor abilities, psychosocial behavior, physical functions, information processing, or speech. The term includes anoxia due to trauma. The term does not include brain injuries that are congenital, degenerative, or induced by birth trauma.

Technical Assistance Contact: Donna Harvard

Technical Assistance Contact: Susan Markulec

Technical Assistance Contact: Joanne Stidham

Students who are visually impaired include students who are blind, have no vision, or have little potential for using vision or students who have low vision. The term visual impairment does not include students who have learning problems that are primarily the result of visual perceptual and/or visual motor difficulties.

Contact Teri Crace, 534-0930

Technical Assistance Contact: Roberta Dailey

ESE Activities

Special Olympics is a global nonprofit organization targeting the nearly 200 million people round the world who have intellectual disabilities. The mission of Special Olympics POLK is to provide year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for people with intellectual disabilities who wish to participate, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in the sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.

Contact: Monica Campbell at 863.815.6671, or fax 863.815.6673. The office is located at Sleepy Hill Middle School, 2215 Sleepy Hill Road, in Lakeland.

www.specialolympicspolk.org

VSA is an international nonprofit organization which is dedicated to artistic excellence and to providing educational opportunities through the arts for people with disabilities. Over one million people in Florida participate in VSA of Florida programs!

VSA of Florida annually provides direct services to over 45,000 people with disabilities, as well as 200,000 teachers, parents and peers. Each year, VSA of Florida trains 5,000 teachers, as well as hundreds of artists, administrators, juvenile justice personnel, and social, community service and healthcare providers. Through an extensive network of partnerships with museums, educational and recreational programs, healthcare and social services agencies, correctional facilities, and performing arts centers VSA of Florida nurtures independence, learning skills and self worth.

VSA of Florida is an educational state affiliate of VSA hosted by the University of South Florida. VSA was founded in 1974 by Jean Kennedy Smith as an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Contact Terry Fields, 863-679-4337

ESE Projects

The Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources System (FDLRS) is a network of state and federally-funded centers which provide support services to exceptional student educators, children, parents, and community agencies.

Contact FDLRS, 863-647-4258

Click here to visit the FDLRS Webpage.

Integrated into FDLRS, FIN provides learning opportunities, consultation, information and support to educators, families, and community members resulting in the inclusion of all students.

Bonnie Dupuis, FIN Facilitator

Click here to visit the FIN Webpage.

The Multi-agency Service Network for Students with Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities (SEDNET) creates and facilitates a network of key stakeholders committed to promoting a quality, comprehensive system of care for children with, or at risk of, emotional/behavioral disabilities (E/BD) and their families.

Tracy Dasher, SEDNET Project Manager/PBS District Coordinator, 863-534-0930

Click here to visit the Region 14 SEDNET Webpage.

Click here to visit the state SEDNET homepage.