What is the Communication, Sensory and Social Interaction (CSSI) Program at Brentwood Elementary School?
The Communication, Sensory and Social Interaction (CSSI) Program is designed to meet the needs of children with severe communication and behavior needs. The program offers a structured environment with consistent routines and expectations. The program also emphasizes the use of visuals to aid the children with both their receptive and expressive communication.
Who are the Students?
Children with Autism and those with Autistic like symptoms represent an important part of the classroom population, as well as children who present severe challenges in behavior and communication. All of the children have varying degrees of cognitive delay. Students attending the Brentwood School CSSI program travel to school on the bus from the north quadrants of the city.
What methods of Communication are explored?
- Awareness of self and others
- Building receptive vocabulary/expressive communication skills
- Alternative forms of communication
- - Sign Language
- - Picture Communication Symbols
- Language concepts (readiness/academic skills)
How is the program organized?
- Currently there are two classes in the CSSI program at Brentwood School, each with their own classroom. Generally, each classroom is staffed with one teacher and two educational assistants and has from 5 to 7 students. A lunchroom supervisor also provides support for two hours in the middle of the day.
- The program is located in the west wing of the school on the main floor. In addition to the two classrooms the program has a kitchen/activity, a sensory integration room, and use of other school facilities such as the gymnasium, library, music and playground.
- Programming focuses on the following goal areas:
- Appropriate social interaction skills
- Receptive and expressive communication skills
- Daily living skill
- Readiness and functional academic skills
- Vocational skills
- Each student’s teacher develops and Individual Program Plan (IPP) at the beginning of the school year taking into consideration input from other members of the child’s support team including parents, various therapists and community agency support workers. The goals identified in the IPP form the basis of each child’s program. Progress is carefully monitored and goals may be changed or adapted as necessary. The IPP is updated at the end of November, in March and at the end of the school year in June on the same parent reporting schedule used for other programs in Brentwood School.
What is the program content?
The program is based on the premise that behavior is a form of communication for these students. Behavior is not dealt with in isolation; rather the students are taught more appropriate forms of communication while having opportunities to learn functional skills. Communication and behavioral objectives are prevalent throughout all activities of skill development. The extent of each student’s participation and involvement is reflected in their Individual Program Plan. The intent of the program planning is to keep students actively engaged in purposeful learning opportunities.
How does the program work with other programs in Brentwood School?
At Brentwood Elementary School the CSSI Program coexists with the Traditional Learning Centre program. Students in each program have their own teachers and classrooms and the delivery of the curriculum aligns with the methodology of each program. All students and staff in the school work cooperatively in school-wide activities and programs such as regular assemblies, the virtue of the month, the Alberta Initiative for School Improvement project on Assessment for and of Learning, the music program and in celebrations of various cultural and calendar events. Students the CSSI program participate in activities that are appropriate for their learning needs.
What support services are provided?
A range of support services is provided to the teachers and students through REACH (Regional Educational Assessment Consultation for the Handicapped). These services include Psychology, Speech/Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Vision Specialists and Hearing Specialists as necessary. The REACH team offers consultation to the teachers and assessments for the students. Teachers in the program also work closely with individual transition or IBI programs that children may receive outside of the school.
How do students access the CSSI Program?
Placement in the CSSI Program at Brentwood is arranged through the Student Services Specialist after careful screening of the student for appropriateness for this program. Children are generally referred from community based preschool and kindergarten intervention programs or from their current school.