Teaching, Life Skills, and Communication (TLC)
The TLC program (Teaching, Life skills and Communication) is a program designed to support students who have been identified as having developmental disabilities. The need for specialized support in multiple areas, including academic support, communication, social skills, life skills and sensory supports has grown substantially. In order to address this growing need, District 26 has designed a specialized program the TLC to provide individualized, specialized supports to our students. The TLC program provides support for students in Kindergarten through 8 th grade. The following is a description of the supports that are integrated into the TLC program.
Curriculum is aligned to the state of Illinois Learning Standards. IEP academic goals are developed to include the following areas: reading, writing and math. Students are also exposed to other areas of study such as science, social studies, art, music and physical education as appropriate. Curriculum for the program is delivered through differentiated instruction that includes a combination of the following: discrete trial training, TEACCH, sensory-integration support, communication and social skill development, functional life skills, visual schedules, social stories, assistive technology and motor activities. Each child’s program is tailored to meet the unique needs of the student.
The Life Skills component of the program is designed to help develop student’s skills to effectively function within their varied communities and prepare them for the next step in their lives. Included in this component are activities and experiences focusing on:
Independent functioning--following a classroom/home/job schedule or routine, maintaining appropriate hygiene and health, demonstrating safety awareness.
Social Skills—engaging appropriately with peers and adults, demonstrating cooperation, managing emotions/feelings, choosing appropriate leisure activities.
Behavior—demonstrating appropriate behaviors in a variety of situations, learning problem-solving strategies to manage challenges, learning conflict
Vocational Skills—completing tasks involving multiple step directions, performing appropriate jobs in the school setting, learning about various occupations.
The TLC program helps students develop speech and language skills and facilitates functional communication. Small group and discrete learning tasks are provided in addition to whole class activities, with the goal of generalizing communication skills into other school, home and community environments. The TLC program emphasizes social communication and interaction utilizing augmentative and alternative technology as needed.
Sensory needs vary greatly among individuals. Strategies taught are designed to address individual needs and are tailored to the students’ developmental level. Self-regulation awareness as well as independent implementation of strategies are promoted to assist students in accessing and participating in all aspects of their educational program. Approaches such as, “How Does Your Engine Run?,” use of specialized software, sensory/motor activities and adult supports that teach the use of sensory tools and strategies help to empower the students to take charge of their sensory needs.
Students also receive all of the related service supports that are recommended by the IEP Team. Some of these related services may include Speech/Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Social Work, Psychological Services, Health Services, Vision Itinerant, Orientation and Mobility, Hearing Itinerant and Adaptive Physical Education. Many of these services are integrated directly into the program, with individual and small group support also available, in accordance with the student’s IEP.
The goal of all D26 programs is to provide the greatest access to typical peers as possible while still addressing the unique learning needs of each student. Opportunities for inclusion in the TLC program are individualized and are determined by the IEP Team. Students may participate in the general education setting in specific academic classes (such as language arts, math, science and social studies), lunch/recess, assemblies and specials (such as art, music and/or physical education). In addition, “Buddy Programs” are available. In these programs, typical peers join the TLC classrooms to work with students on a variety of activities.