Special Education Services

Parent Mentor

Jeff Sloat

Jeff Sloat

Parent Mentor


Adapted Physical Education

Adapted Physical Education (APE) is an adapted, or modified, physical education program designed to meet the gross motor needs of students in grades one through twelve. Services are generally provided either directly in our classrooms or monitored in the regular physical education classes.

The APE teacher provides adaptations and/or modifications that will allow the student to participate successfully in physical education activities.  APE teachers are responsible for evaluating a student’s gross motor skills and for writing gross motor goals and objectives for the Individualized Education Program (IEP).
Adaptations and/or modifications are available in the following four areas:

  1. Instruction:  Rules, lesson plans, strategies, etc. can be modified to facilitate a student’s success in the regular physical education setting.
  2. Rules:  A rule can be adapted or modified so that it allows the student with special needs to be successful in the physical education setting.
  3. Equipment:  Standard gym equipment can be replaced with equipment that varies in shape, color, size, etc. in order to meet the needs of the student.
  4. Environment:  It is also possible to alter the learning environment by changing the size of the playing area and/or by using colored tape to define the area.

At the secondary level, the focus shifts from working on skills emphasizing loco-motor and object control skills to put these skills to work with an emphasis on life-long recreation, leisure, and fitness activities both at school and in the community. Activities like bocce ball, shuffleboard, and corn toss that can be played with one other person and may be encountered at a family gathering are emphasized.  We encourage the use of our school fitness labs to keep students fit and we encourage participation in Special Olympics with the Northwest Superstars.  Because we want our students to be active outside of school, we introduce them to local opportunities like bowling, ice skating, and ice sledding (for students in wheelchairs), horseback riding (equine therapy), miniature golf, and adapted kayaking.

Learn More about Adapted Physical Education
The Individuals with Disabilities Act, (PL 108-446) is a federal law, with state agency oversight, created to support the provision of public education for all children. It ensures services to children with disabilities and governs the manner in which states and public agencies provide services to eligible children.

Links to Professional Organizations and Resources



Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists (OTs) and occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) are part of the educational team within a school district. Occupational therapy services for students with special needs are determined through the Multifactored Evaluation and through the IEP process. School-based occupational therapy is available for students who are eligible for special education.
Occupational therapy professionals are concerned with an individual’s ability to participate in desired daily life activities or “occupational performance”. Within the school environment, occupational therapists focus on facilitating independence with learning and school-related activities.
Through collaboration with the educational team, individual goals are established to:

  • Promote school success
  • To reach outcomes related to:
    • Classroom skills
    • Playground and sports participation
    • Self help skills Social participation
    • Mobility
    • Social-emotional learning
    • Assistive technology needs

Specifically, OTs facilitate a variety of occupational performance skills in regards to each student’s environment. For example:

  • In the classroom: 
    Seating/positioning modifications
    Classroom management
    Fine motor skill development for handwriting or keyboarding skills
  • On the playground: 
    Social participation skills
    Motor skills for engagement in activities
    Self-advocacy skills
  • In the lunchroom:
    Promote independence in self-feeding
    Develop peer relationships
    Organizing self and materials
  • On the school bus: 
    Seating needs
    Evacuation procedures
  • Through the hallways: 
    Geographical orientation
    Locker management
    Self-care in the bathroom

Professional Organizations & Resources:



Jeff Sloat joined the Hilliard City School District in the Fall of 2019. He is honored to serve families as Parent Mentor for the district. He has served as a surrogate parent for many years and has experiences on both sides of the table; providing services and accommodations as well as advocating for those who need them.Jeff holds a Master’s degree in social work and is independently licensed in Ohio.

When he is not supporting Hilliard families through educational accommodations, Jeff is the Clinical Supervisor at Adriel Foster Care in Dublin. There, he supervises the clinical department, provides individual therapy to foster children, and trains foster families and agency staff. Jeff is focused on helping underdogs, and he brings a heart to serve and strong advocacy skills to the Parent Mentor role.

He is the father of two active teenagers and the husband of a very accomplished wife.


Physical Therapy

School-based physical therapy is a related service provided to any special education student who demonstrates deficits in gross motor functioning. Physical therapists focus on the evaluation of PreK-12 students’ gross motor skills and needs. Primary attention is given to ensuring that each student has the gross motor ability to effectively access his or her educational environment.
Assessment of gross motor skills includes identifying deficits in balance, coordination, strength, posture, and mobility within the school setting. School-based PTs also identify possible architectural barriers within the school setting, evaluate the student’s seating and positioning needs, and provide equipment recommendations.
Children who qualify for clinical or out-patient physical therapy services may not qualify for school-based PT. School-based physical therapy is provided only if a medical diagnosis or motor delay is determined by the IEP team to have an adverse effect on the student’s performance at school. School-based physical therapy services are designed to ensure that the student is able to benefit from his/her educational programming with regard to gross motor functional independence.
Provision of Services
School-based physical therapy services are provided in the least restrictive environment (LRE), in a manner that allows the student to continue with his or her daily education schedule with the least amount of interruption possible. PT services may be provided in pull-out sessions or integrated within the classroom, depending on the needs of the child. Services may also be provided on both a direct and consultative basis. Some of the gross motor activities in which the students may participate include:
Direct services:

  • Balance
  • Functional Independence
  • Motor Planning
  • Transfer Skills
  • Posture
  • Therapeutic Exercises including strength and joint range of motion
  • Locomotor Activities
  • Ambulation
  • Stair climbing (school or bus)
  • Wheelchair Management Skills
  • Community Independence
  • Functional Mobility
  • Safety Awareness

Indirect / Consultative Services:

  • Staff training
  • Monitor Equipment Use
  • Equipment adaptations and modifications
  • Building assessment to determine architectural and environmental barriers
  • Safety in school and on playground
  • Transitions from school to community
  • Career site and community outings support
  • Education of students/staff, including disability awareness information and activities

Dismissal from School Physical Therapy
The collaborative decision to dismiss a student from physical therapy services (or any other related service) is made by the student’s IEP team. Dismissal may occur when the student is no longer eligible for special education, when other members of the IEP team can provide necessary interventions, or when the student can perform school-related tasks without therapeutic intervention.
Learn More about Physical Therapy
The Individuals with Disabilities Act, IDEA, (PL 108-446) is a federal law, with state agency oversight, to support the provision of public education for all children. It ensures services to children with disabilities and governs the manner in which states and public agencies provide services to eligible children.

Professional Organizations and Resources

The following links may provide additional information about school-based physical therapy:

  • apta.org (The American Physical Therapy Association)
  • escco.org (The Educational Service Center of Central Ohio)
  • ocecd.org (The Ohio Coalition of Education for Children with Disabilities)
  • ocali.org/ (The Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence)
  • idea.ed.gov/ (IDEA2004)



School Psychologist

What is a School Psychologist?

School psychologists help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally.  They collaborate with educators, parents, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments that strengthen connections between the home, school, and community for all students.  School psychologists are highly trained in both psychology and education, completing a minimum of a specialist-level degree program (at least 60 graduate semester hours) that includes a year-long supervised internship. This training emphasizes preparation in mental health and educational interventions, child development, learning, behavior, motivation, curriculum and instruction, assessment, consultation, collaboration, school law, and systems. School psychologists must be certified and/or licensed by the state in which they work. Many are also nationally certified by the National School Psychology Certification Board.

What Do School Psychologists Do?

School psychologists work with students to provide counseling, instruction, and mentoring for those struggling with social, emotional, and behavioral problems.  They increase student achievement by assessing barriers to learning and determining the best instructional strategies to improve learning.  They promote wellness and resilience by reinforcing communication and social skills, problem-solving, anger management, self-regulation, self-determination, and optimism.  They enhance understanding and acceptance of diverse cultures and backgrounds.
School psychologists work with students and their families to identify and address learning and behavior problems that interfere with school success; to evaluate eligibility for special education services within a multidisciplinary team; to support students’ social, emotional, and behavioral health; to teach parenting skills and enhance home-school collaboration; to make referrals and help coordinate community support services.
School psychologists work with teachers to identify and resolve academic barriers to learning, to design and implement student progress monitoring systems, to design and implement academic and behavioral interventions, to support effective individualized instruction, to create positive classroom environments, and to motivate all students to engage in learning.
School psychologists work with administrators to collect and analyze data, implement school-wide prevention programs that help maintain positive school climates conducive to learning, and promote school policies and practices that ensure the safety of all students by reducing school violence and bullying. They also respond to crises by providing leadership, direct services, and/or coordination with needed community services.
School psychologists work with community providers to coordinate the delivery of services to students and their families in and outside of school and to help students transition to and from school and community learning environments.
From the National Association of School Psychologists (www.nasponline.org)

Parent Resources For Parenting Children With Special Needs:

That’s My Child (Lisanne Capper)
The Special Needs Reading List (Wilma K. Sweeney)
The Child with Special Needs (Stanley I. Greenspan and Serena Wieder)
Parent Education courses offered through Nationwide Children’s Hospital


Speech and Language

“Speech and language skills are essential to academic success and learning. Language is the basis of communication. Reading, writing, gesturing, listening, and speaking are all forms of language. Learning takes place through the process of communication. The ability to communicate with peers and adults in the educational setting is essential for a student to succeed in school.”
–American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

What is Speech and Language?

Speech and language services in the school setting are provided by speech-language pathologists (SLPs). SLPs are trained to evaluate, diagnose, and treat speech and language disorders. In the school setting, SLPs work collaboratively with teachers, psychologists, principals, parents, and others, to improve communication skills for students with demonstrated educational needs.

How Do I Know if My Child Needs Speech and Language?

Students may exhibit disorders of articulation (speech sound production), receptive/expressive language (understanding what is heard/expressing thoughts and ideas with words), fluency/stuttering (hesitations, repetitions, prolongations in speech), pragmatics (social language skills), or voice. If concerns exist about a child’s communication abilities in one of these areas, the SLP may be consulted. Information is gathered through observations, consultations with teachers/staff, and formal assessments. Based on these results, the team determines whether or not the child’s difficulties with communication are causing an adverse educational impact, or negatively affecting the child’s ability to communicate within the educational environment.

What Happens if My Child Qualifies for Speech and Language Services?

If a child qualifies for speech and language services, the SLP provides services in a variety of placements. The determination of the appropriate service delivery model (Least Restrictive Environment) will be made when the child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) is created. Services may be provided in individual or small group “pull out” sessions (where the child goes to a separate room to work with the SLP), in regular education and/or intervention classrooms in collaboration with the teacher, or in a consultative/monitoring model (the SLP confers with the student’s teacher regarding communication skills and progress).
Professional Organizations & Resources:



Supplemental Services Teachers

Supplemental Services Teachers (SST) provide supplemental aids and services necessary to enable the child with a disability, primarily children with vision and/or hearing impairments to receive an appropriate education in the general classroom environment in accordance with an Individualized Education Plan.  SST’s can operate as a primary service for the student, the student’s special education teacher leading the IEP team, or as a consultative service by acting as a related service member of the IEP team. We travel the district to support our students with IEP’s and educational teams in a variety of academic settings, preschool-12th grades.

  • Assist regular classroom teachers in developing instructional/behavioral strategies and in the modification of the classroom environment for students with disabilities.
  • Identify, procure and coordinate appropriate supplemental special education to maintain the student with a disability in the regular classroom.
  • Provide information and/or in-services to school personnel regarding needs of students with disabilities.
  • Select and develop instructional materials and equipment required for students with disabilities, providing for individual differences in student ability, behavior and learning modalities.
  • Be knowledgeable of assistive technology for students with disabilities.
  • Develop IEP goals and objectives based on student needs using medical documentation and ETR assessment results.
  • Promote Self-Advocacy and Self-Determination skills in our students.
  • Provide training on the use of supplemental aides and devices to students and their teachers.
  • Communication with staff, administrators, parents, students and community agencies.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of all disability categories.
  • Be knowledgeable of Ohio State Special Education Rules and Regulations.
  • Participate as a member of the Intervention Assistance Team, when appropriate.
  • Provide feedback on the realistic expectations of the child in the least restrictive environment.
  • Serve as a liaison between regular and special education teachers in the identification of eligible students.
  • Conduct classroom observations on all students currently enrolled in the SST program.
  • Establish and maintain ongoing relationships with local resource agencies for students with disabilities as well as acquaint ourselves with their available materials, equipment, services, etc.
  • Locate and keep up to date with available resources, materials, equipment, services, etc. both in the community and school district.
  • Attend professional development seminars and workshops throughout the year to keep current on relevant issues, equipment and technology.


American Printing House for the Blind
Columbus Speech & Hearing
Independent Living Aids
Ohio School for the Deaf
Ohio State School for the Blind


Transition/Work-Study Program

The Hilliard City Schools Transition/Work-Study Program is available at all 3 high schools. A wide range of services is available to students on IEPs in grades 9-12. Services are provided in the Hilliard and surrounding community and within the 3 high schools by a Transition/Work-Study Specialist and a Job Coach.

Transition/Work-Study Program Options:

Career Site-The volunteer Career Sites take place in various businesses and the job experiences usually occur one day a week for a maximum of 1-2 hours with direct training and supervision of a job coach. The Career Site work experiences give the students hands-on work experience in a real-life laboratory setting and opportunities for exploring future career choices and opportunities for developing employability skills. Examples of Career Site partner businesses are Petland, Traditions, Lowe’s and merchants at Tuttle Mall.
In-School Work Stations-Before transitioning into community jobs, many students participate in an in-school work station. Students are matched with an adult supervisor in the school building. Students work for one period each day. Examples of in-school work stations are custodial helper, cafeteria kitchen helper, main office helper, and guidance office aide.
Community Work-Study Jobs
Typically, when students are in 11th or 12th grade and ready, they locate and begin work in the community at paid positions. They can earn elective credit toward graduation for every 160 hours that they are employed. Students often times get individual assistance in locating possible job openings and preparing for interviews but they must have their own transportation and obtain employment on their own.
Tolles Career and Technical Center
Students who have completed the 10th grade and are at least 16 years old, can apply to attend Tolles for their 11th and 12th-grade years of high school while still graduating from their home school. Students on IEPscontinue to receive the same accommodations while at Tolles. A Career Assessment done at Tolles in the 10th-grade year can be arranged so that students and families can get information about career aptitudes and interests.
Transition Plan Development
As a member of the IEP team, the Transition/Work-Study Specialist is available to assist in the IEP Transition Plan development and implementation. Students who are planning to go to college, enter the workforce, attend technical skill training, enter the military and /or join life skills training and leisure programs after their high school years can all be served through the transition planning process.
Referral Sources
Referral information is given to students and parents about the Rehabilitation Services Commission, Franklin County Board of DD, Social Security Office, Job and Family Services and many other community agencies and services.

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David Stewart

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