Schools for learning disabilities: An inclusive preschool and transitional program solution

2023 Preschool Graduation, kids with hands in air

In today’s educational landscape, there’s a growing recognition of the diverse needs of students with a wide variety of disabilities and conditions. Finding the right educational environment is key to their growth and success. However, choosing the right school can feel daunting. An inclusive therapeutic preschool with a transitional program can be an excellent solution and a beacon of hope. It can provide children with disabilities a supportive and enriching setting tailored to their unique needs. 

A team of experts guiding your child’s journey

These specialized schools are designed to cater to children with a range of disabilities and conditions. A key component of these programs is the presence of pediatric and adolescent therapy teams. These teams are made of highly trained professionals who specialize in working with children with conditions and disabilities like:

  • Stroke
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Spina bifida
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Complex neurological disorders
  • Multi-trauma
  • Rare conditions

This dedicated team works closely with your family to develop a personalized plan that helps foster your child’s physical, social, communicative, emotional and cognitive development. 

A nurturing foundation for growth from preschool to transitions throughout life

Our nationally accredited and state-licensed inclusive preschool provides a caring and welcoming environment for children aged 1 to 5. Teachers and therapists work together in small student-to-teacher ratios (1:4), to ensure that every child receives the individualized support they need. This integrated approach can give children with disabilities the opportunity to learn alongside their typically developing peers. This allows them to foster social interaction and a sense of belonging. To boost the maximized effectiveness of their day, necessary therapeutic services can be incorporated into the school day and may happen inside the classroom or in therapy treatment areas. These services can include:

  • Speech therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Assistive technology
  • Aquatic therapy
  • Natural environment teaching

A tailored approach to learning

Learning disabilities manifest differently in each child. Your child’s team will include specialists who are experienced in a variety of learning challenges. This allows them to create a personalized learning plan to address your child’s specific needs. Their plan will focus on helping your child develop their:

  • Social skills development
  • Social problem-solving
  • Self-regulation
  • Language development
  • Physical development

These therapeutic intervention skills are delivered through:

  • Organized and free play
  • Recreational activities
  • Art
  • Music/movement
  • Other activities within an early childhood setting 

The power of play can help children unlock their full potential by helping them:

  • Build executive function skills to thrive in all areas of life
  • Foster a love for language and math
  • Build strong relationships with peers and caregivers
  • Experiment with emotions, navigate social situations and build resilience

A curriculum designed for success 

When you are looking at an inclusive therapeutic preschool, you’ll want to make sure their chosen curriculum aligns with your state’s learning standards. This will help provide a strong foundation for transitioning to public school and meet the challenges of school-aged curriculum. A great example curriculum is the Creative Curriculum. It’s a research-based, inclusive, play-based curriculum that we use at Mary Shaw Branton Therapeutic Preschool. Meticulously chosen to prepare our students for current and future success, it meets the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework in addition to Missouri Early Learning Standards. Through exploration and discovery, our curriculum helps children to develop:

  • Confidence
  • Creativity
  • Lifelong critical thinking skills

It addresses 10 areas of development and learning:

  • Social-emotional
  • Physical
  • Language
  • Cognitive
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Science and technology
  • Social studies
  • Arts
  • English language acquisition

Programs should also help foster development-appropriate practices in children. Embracing a social-emotional behavioral approach can help children of all abilities. This can create a positive and trauma-informed learning environment to help nurture all children. An inclusive therapeutic preschool and transition program is a place where every child is seen, heard and celebrated for their unique abilities. 

Transitioning to the next chapter with confidence

One of the hallmarks of an inclusive therapeutic preschool and transitional program is its focus on promoting independence and self-advocacy skills. Children are encouraged to take an active role in their own learning journey. This helps them build confidence and autonomy along the way. 

Dedicated case managers and staff work closely with families and schools to help ensure a smooth transition, offering tutoring, school reentry support and advocacy. This supportive approach of staff combined with the independence and self-advocacy skills learned by your child can help minimize anxiety and further empower your child to thrive in their next academic environment.

A lifelong partnership: Support beyond milestones and the classroom 

The journey doesn’t end once an inclusive preschool program is completed. Organizations can provide ongoing resources and support to families to help them navigate the next chapter by assisting with transition planning. 

Transition planning is another critical part of this program. As children progress through the educational system and transition from preschool to elementary school to middle school to high school and beyond, there’s a need to also prepare them for the transition to post-school life. Starting with an inclusive therapeutic preschool can equip students with the skills and resources at a foundational level to help them navigate future transitions successfully. 

Ability KC is helping children reach their greatest potential in our Mary Shaw Branton Therapeutic Preschool

With programs like our inclusive therapeutic preschool in a therapeutic classroom setting and our pediatric outpatient services, Ability KC provides a nurturing environment where children of all abilities can discover their strengths, build confidence and reach their full potential. We have a rich history over 75 years of providing services that have helped change and shape the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families. We have worked closely with families and educators across school districts to help children reach their educational goals with personalized treatments and advanced techniques for additional care support. 

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.