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Ricks Center for Gifted Children

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About Us

Student Support Team

student support team

The Student Support Team (SST) provides support and short-term interventions to students who have mild learning and/or social-emotional needs. The SST is a trans-disciplinary team that is comprised of a(n):

  • School Psychologist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Reading Specialist

Utilizing a collaborative model, Ricks Center considers parents, teachers, and outside service providers to be vital members of each student's team. The SST consults with the team to assess the needs of individual students to determine appropriate interventions and supports. If short-term interventions are needed for an individual student, parents will be notified, and permission requested.

For students who have a diagnosed disability or disorder, the SST will meet with parents and teachers to determine the student's eligibility for a Section 504 plan. Teachers and families will have input into the development of Section 504 plans, and once approved and signed by all stakeholders, the school is legally obligated to provide all supports and accommodations set forth in the plan. When teachers have questions about accommodations for a student, they will seek clarification and/or assistance from the SST.

Although the SST provides supports and accommodations for students, it does NOT provide individual services to students requiring intensive and/or long-term needs. These types of services are beyond the scope of the SST resources. In addition, the SST provides limited assessment and, if deemed necessary, will recommend parents seek outside agencies for additional assessment, evaluation, and/or services. If your child is receiving outside support services, Ricks Center will request that you sign a release of information form, so that teachers and staff can communicate with outside service providers.

What is School Psychology?


School psychologists provide support and expertise in mental health, learning, and behavior. They help students academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally within the school environment. They develop partnerships with families, students, teachers, school staff, and outside service providers in supporting students.

How Does School Psychology work at Ricks Center?

Students can face problems from time to time related to learning; social relationships; making difficult decisions; or managing emotions, such as feeling depressed, anxious, worried, or isolated. School psychologists help students, families, educators, and members of the community understand and resolve short-term issues that students may face. School psychologists are a highly skilled and ready resource to assist in the goal that all children and youth thrive in school, at home, and in life. The School Psychologist is also responsible for writing Section 504 Plans once a student has a qualifying diagnosis. The School Psychologist's primary mission is to provide strategies and techniques to teachers to help them better serve their students. The School Psychologist will work with the classroom teachers and families collaboratively. The School Psychologist may recommend targeted strategies or outside services. This consultative approach allows the School Psychologist to support teachers and families in a comprehensive manner. The School Psychologist may work with individuals or small groups on targeted, short-term interventions. The School Psychologist will not provide intensive, sustained therapy in the school setting. In the instance that long-term therapy is required, the family will need to seek outside services.

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy focuses on the underlying components of development, promoting improvement in sensory processing, self-regulation, body awareness, motor planning and the development of gross motor, fine motor, visual motor, oral motor and functional skills. Occupational therapy may improve the student's ability to interpret and organize information from the senses and attempts to remedy many of the handwriting, behavior, and physical problems associated with sensory integration dysfunction.

How Does Occupational Therapy work at Ricks Center?

The Occupational Therapist will work with the classroom teachers and families collaboratively to support students in sensory integration; motor processing; fine, gross, oral, and grapho-motor development; and daily living skills (dressing, toileting, grooming, etc.). The Occupational Therapist may recommend targeted strategies or outside services. The Occupational Therapist may work with individuals or small groups on targeted, short-term interventions. The Occupational Therapist will not provide intensive, sustained therapy in the school setting. In the instance that long-term therapy is required, the family will need to seek outside services.

What is Reading Intervention?

Reading intervention supplements the classroom literacy curriculum based on assessed needs of individual students. These interventions focus primarily on phonemic awareness, phonics, decoding, fluency, and comprehension with the goal of increasing reading behaviors and abilities levels. Reading intervention can occur both in and out of the classroom environment.

The Reading Specialist may work with students who are:
• Requiring additional support in reading
• Diagnosed with a reading or language disability
• Have a Section 504 Plan

How Does Reading Intervention work at Ricks Center?

The Reading Specialist provides teachers with support in the instruction of reading and writing using the workshop model. The Reading Specialist may also work one-on-one or in small groups with students requiring additional support (beyond regular classroom instruction and teacher support) to achieve grade level reading. Reading support interventions are short term and targeted. Based on the recommendations of the SST, families may need to seek outside evaluations and tutoring services.