Students with Special Needs

For nearly 75 years Meeting Street has been a national leader in the education of children with special needs.  Utilizing an interdisciplinary, team-based approach, Meeting Street creates individualized academic programs to meet your child’s educational and developmental goals. We work in partnership with students, parents and school districts to create and administer an Individualized Education Program (IEP) that drives toward maximizing your child’s developmental and educational outcomes and quality-of-life.

Meeting Street places students in one of our four schools across southern New England, based on a child’s needs and location/residence:

  • The Early Learning Center (Providence, RI - Fully inclusive, Ages 6 weeks to 5 years)
  • The Grace School (Providence, RI – Fully inclusive, Grades K-8);
  • The Carter School (Providence, RI – Students with special needs only, though inclusive opportunities are provided through our career/employment center, Grade 9 – Age 22); and
  • The Schwartz School (Dartmouth, MA – Students with special needs only, Ages 3 – 22).

Meeting Street’s schools are appropriate for students with a wide range of abilities.  Our educators, therapists and allied professionals are highly trained in working with students having cognitive, developmental and physical delays, including those with severe / profound needs or who are medically fragile.

Please note: Meeting Street’s schools are not appropriate for students with significant behavioral needs. 


Special Needs Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

What is an IEP and does my child need one to attend a Meeting Street school?

An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a customized education plan developed for students who qualify for special education services by their home school district.  An IEP is not required to attend a Meeting Street school.  If your child has an IEP and you are interested in learning more about our schools, please contact our Special Education Coordinator Michelle Godfrey at 401-533-9142 or mgodfrey@MeetingStreet.org.

What is Included in a Special Education Tuition at Meeting Street? 

Meeting Street takes a team approach – including educators, multi-disciplined therapists and medical staff – to assess and understand a child’s individual needs and to build a customized program of services to maximize each child’s outcomes.   

Individualized Education

-       Each grade level has a professional and licensed special educator in the classroom to ensure customized, grade-level curriculum modifications that meet each learner’s needs;

-       If prescribed by a child’s IEP, a 1:1 aide will be paired with your child throughout the school year; and

-       If prescribed by a child’s IEP, an Extended School Year (ESY) program is offered during the summer months (8 weeks), Monday through Friday, 8:00AM to 1:00PM.

Customized Therapy

-       Based on a child’s needs, a team of occupational, physical and speech-language therapists will build a customized program of skill development, including the use of assistive communication tools and devices, and various equipment needs.  Our therapists provide services to students individually, in group settings and at times co-treat with other therapists to integrate their disciplines.  Therapy goals are also incorporated into a child’s school day, every day;

-       Students have complete access to Meeting Street’s extensive therapeutic resources, including: aqua therapy pool; physical therapy gyms; sensory integration rooms; adaptive technology equipment; lifts and adaptive bathroom equipment; and a multitude of equipment and tools to facilitate learning occupational and physical adaptations;

-       Each student’s progress is monitored daily, and weekly meetings of each child’s full team are held to review progress toward the goals outlined in the child’s IEP;  

-       Parents receive regular consultations with their child’s care team, including a home visit to assess equipment needs and make recommendations for purchase. 

On-site Equipment Clinic

As part of the screening and evaluation process, a child’s therapeutic team will explore new equipment and technologies to maximize the child’s occupational, physical and speech-language abilities.  Examples include:

  -       Pressure mapping of seated equipment to ensure a non-verbal child is not experiencing discomfort;

  -       Student trials of: adaptive classroom chairs and bicycles; gait trainers; power wheelchairs; sensory equipment; standers and walkers; and

  -       On-site bracing appointments, allowing a child to be fitted with a new orthotic/prosthetic, or have equipment repaired, during the school day.

Medical Support

  -       All Meeting Street schools employ full-time Registered Nurses (RN) who are trained in alternative feeding;

  -       Daily, 1:1 feeding assistance for a child with swallowing and/or other occupational difficulties;

  -       Access to Meeting Street’s Medical Director during weekly campus visits;

  -       Access to a full-time behavioral specialist; and 

  -       Individualized toileting / 1:1 bathroom assistance, equipment, feeding and sensory plans, as needed.

Do you offer an Extended School Year (ESY) program?

Yes.  Our ESY program runs for eight weeks in the summer, Monday-Friday, from 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Students must qualify for ESY services, which is determined annually during the student’s IEP meeting.

Do you provide Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Services?

No. Although Meeting Street employs a behavioral specialist, ABA services are not available.  Meeting Street schools are not able to accommodate students with significant behavioral needs. 

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