Marina and others like her could find relief next year when the Southern Oregon Education Service District debuts a program called STEPS Plus at the old South Medford High School for about 20 K-12 students with severe special needs. The program is based on the STEPS program, which serves students, ages 5-21, with severe or multiple disabilities, including severe retardation, autism, orthopedic, traumatic brain injury and other medical needs. “Plus” signifies that the new program provides more intense assistance.
“These students require a lot of staffing and one-on-one support and environmental changes,” says Sandra Crews, ESD special education director. “They might need to be alone for a while, or they don’t handle sensory stimulation very well. These kids will be much happier and ready to learn if they’re in an environment that is set up for their needs.”
Special education directors in the ESD’s three-county service area, including Jackson, Josephine and Klamath counties, have been envisioning the program for at least three years, Crews says.
Live in Southern Oregon? Jackson, Josephine and Klamath counties are being served by new (old) school building with services.