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Joy (Occupational Therapist), Cara (Speech Therapist), and Joi (Special Education Teacher) all work at a center based school serving students who have significant intellectual disabilities. Our school also has a pre-k program that serves students both with and without developmental delays. We look for ways to provide multi-sensory learning experiences to enable our students with special needs to improve their literacy, fine motor and communication skills. As kids are kids after all, we know that in order to sustain their attention we must first engage their interest. We feel that our approach is successful with our students and hope we inspire you to think outside of the box too!

The Fine Motor/arts and crafts Groups and Sensory Groups are held  in different classrooms with students ranging from K to 5th grade. The Language Group is in a classroom of students in grades 3-5. Each student has significant intellectual disabilities and many of them also have physical disabilities. We access the general Florida Standards Curriculum through the use of Access Points. These are goals and objectives from the general curriculum that are modified so that our students have a way to access the general standards and curriculum. More information on the Access Points can  be located We also use the Unique Learning System Curriculum and the Meville to Weville curriculum. Each student is given an opportunity to participate in every activity by using a variety of methods. We use AAC devices, symbols, signing and our art/craft activities are based on our curriculums and reading materials.


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33 responses »

  1. Hello! I am a Special Education teacher in Texas and I teach high school students with severe/profound disabilities. I have fallen in love with this blog and would love to get in touch with one of your teachers to get tips and suggestions for my classroom. Thank you!!

  2. Hello,
    Your blog is just amazing. I am a special education teacher in CT and my classroom this year will consist of 10 student who are non verbal with server to profound disabilities. I was wondering how you set up your days and do you have a different theme each week. If so what are those weeks. We do not have a current curriculum and in the past my classroom was very different. I am looking for the best way to access each students skills and how to keep them engaged throught the days. Thanks!

    • Thanks so much Sarah!This is Joy the OT answering. If you let me know what grade levels you teach, I can put you in contact with one of our teachers. I can tell you that our teachers use the Unique Curriculum. Good luck with the new school year and keep in touch! Our school emails are listed on the “About” page.

    • Hi Sarah, I have taught students who are non-verbal with severe to profound for over 10 years. Unique is a good curriculum, but expensive. News 2 You is also a good resource. I try to follow the core standards and we do a picture book a week. We pull activities out of this. A lot of books lend to social studies, science, and even math. If not, I just try to find some math work that follows along with regular ed curriculum maps. I use index cards for visuals and can quickly draw choice of 2 answers to questions for the students if it is not in a yes/no format. I teach middle school.
      When I taught elementary it was done in rotating centers; academic(1:1 with teacher), computer, independent work, and play. In high school, more community based and functional life skills and vocational skills.
      You are ahead of the game!

  3. Hi Joy & Cara,

    My name is Anuj Agarwal. I’m Founder of Feedspot.

    I would like to personally congratulate you as your blog Group by Group has been selected by our panelist as one of the Top 75 Occupational Therapy Blogs on the web.

    I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world. This is the most comprehensive list of Top 75 Occupational Therapy Blogs on the internet and I’m honored to have you as part of this!

    Also, you have the honor of displaying the badge on your blog.


    • There is a follow this blog button on the right side of the page. Just click on that. You will get a follow up confirmation message but make sure and check your spam box because sometimes it goes there. Thanks for your interest!

  4. I am very excited about following your blog and learning some new things to do with my pre-k kiddos! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Have any of you found good continuing education, websites, resources… for teachers teaching students with severe and profound cognitive impairments? I teach at a school similar to yours with students that also have multiple impairments in addition to the severe cognitive difficulties. We find it difficult to find many that are appropriate.

    • We agree, it can be really hard to find things that are appropriate for our population. Some suggestions from teachers include: Linda Burkhart (communication and activity adaptations), Barbara Bloomfield (super symbol lady), Carol Goosens and Caroline Musslewhite (early childhood), and Susan McCloskey (ECT). Pixon for communication and Unique Curriculum for academics are also used at our school. Hope his helps!

      • Anyone from here that wants to order from, just send your order via a fax or email to us directly (instead of ordering on site) and put in that you were referred from Group by Group and we will give you 10% off your order. We did not start our site to get rich, but more to get out to others what we have found WORKS!

    • I also would like to contact you about ideas. I teach 18-21 year olds with multiple severe disabilities. Is there an e-mail address I can reach you at?

    • I would love to email with you about high school population with multiple and severe disabilities, especially those who are tactile resistant!

  6. Love your blog! What a wonderful, wonderful classroom you have. Hats off to all of you for working together to help the kids. Very impressive.

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