Students who have complex support needs and qualify for special education services in the areas of Life Skills Support and Multiple Disabilities Support demonstrate significant difficulties in acquiring academic and functional daily living skills.
Students with complex support needs have significant cognitive disabilities and require intensive instruction to learn. The instruction that is provided for students with complex support needs requires extensive adaptation and support in order to perform and/or participate meaningfully and productively in the everyday life activities of school, home, community and work. In addition, students with complex support needs require substantial modifications of the general education curriculum and their participation in the general education curriculum differs substantially in form and/or substance from that of most other students (i.e., different objectives, materials and/or activities).
Classrooms for students with complex support needs may include students who have intellectual disabilities and/or may need life skills support, multiple disabilities support, autistic support and/or physical support. These students may require augmentative communication systems and assistive technology in order to access, participate and progress in learning.
Programming for Students with Complex Support Needs in a Life Skills Curriculum
When IEP Teams are considering life skills support, they should reflect on the following general descriptions:
Expressive Communication:Student uses verbal or written words, signs, Braille, or language-based augmentative systems to request, initiate, and respond to questions, describe things or events, and express refusal or the student uses intentional communication, but not at a symbolic language level.
Receptive Language: Independently follows 1-2 step directionspresented through words (e.g. words may be spoken, signed, printed, or any combination) anddoes NOT need additional cuesorrequires minimal additional cues(e.g., gestures, pictures, objects, or demonstrations/models) to follow 1-2 step directions.
Motor:No significant motor dysfunction that requires adaptations or requires adaptations to support motor functioning (e.g., walker, adapted utensils, and/or keyboard).Engagement: Initiates and sustains social interactions or responds to social interaction.Reading Skills: Reads fluently with basic (literal) understanding from paragraphs/short passages with narrative/informational texts and/or reads basic sight words, simple sentences, directions, bullets, lists and is aware of print.Math Skills: Applies computational procedures to solve real-life problems in a variety of contexts and/or does computational procedures with or without a calculator.