Special Education Programs

Within Joliet Public Schools District 86, special education instruction and related services are available for children with special needs beginning at age three to 8th grade.  Related Services can include but are not limited to speech and language, adapted PE, physical and occupational therapy, social work, school counseling, hearing and vision itinerant services, transportation, and behavior intervention plans.  More information on special education and related services can also be found on the Illinois State Board of Education's website .

Adaptive, Behavior, Communication Program (ABC)

Joliet Public Schools District 86 strives to provide students with autism spectrum disorders and related disorders a classroom experience that provides learning within a continuum of services.  Students can be serviced in general education classes with services.  Students can also be supported in the instructional level classes from the Early Childhood level through the middle school. The self-contained setting strives to teach students the necessary skills to cope throughout their school environment. Students are provided visual, sensory, and behavioral supports throughout their school day. The research based TEACCH methodology is utilized to promote independent learning.

Early Childhood Program (EC)

Students from the ages of 3-5 who are eligible for special education may receive services from walk-in speech language services to attending the district early childhood program. Students within the early childhood program can be served within instructional level classes to promote early readiness skills or they may be included into a blended early learning class. Children attend five days a week, providing an option of morning or afternoon sessions. Each session is 2.5 hours long. Children are placed in this program through the Preschool Screening process, transitioning from Early Intervention (EI) services, or by teacher recommendation and eligibility approval criteria. Students’ progress is monitored through various age appropriate assessments.

Emotional Disability Program (PALS)

The Personal Adjustment Level System (PALS) is a progressive program designed to foster independent emotional/behavior success for students who do not benefit from a full standard classroom placement due to behavioral patterns that interrupt the learning process of other students and the classroom environment. The primary emphasis and goal is to assist students in developing the internal control and frustration tolerance level. The secondary goal is to help each student to develop coping skills.

The students enrolled in PALS meet the eligibility criteria for special education placement in an emotional disability program. Students may also be placed in PALS due to emotional/behavior needs. The purpose of PALS is to improve academics and extinguish explosive situations as they occur throughout a student’s day. Behavior management and problem solving techniques are discussed on an ongoing basis while the student is integrated in all other classes.

Inclusion/Resource/Instructional Programs

Within special education, students’ needs can be met within a variety of settings based on individual needs. Students can receive their services within the general education classroom, on a pull-out basis outside of the general education classroom, or removed from the general education classroom to receive services within a special education classroom. Placement is determined by the IEP team.

Itinerant Services

Services for students who are deaf/hard of hearing or visually impaired are provided for students ages three through 8th grade.  School-based itinerant services are available to meet the individual needs of students.

LIFE Skills Program

The LIFE Skills (Living in a Functional Environment) program is a self-contained program designed to meet the individual needs of students with an intellectual disability or other health impairments. This program provides instruction in academics, functional, social/emotional, self-care and pre-vocational skills.

Students may benefit from an adapted physical environment. They also benefit from functional, hands-on instruction and meaningful life skills taught in a natural setting. This is done through Community Based Instruction and hands-on life center activities.

Thompson Instructional Center

The Thompson Center offers academic instruction to students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The center focuses on the development of essential social, emotional, and critical thinking skills. This is accomplished through the use of an integrated model, in which clinicians team with educators to provide a therapeutic educational environment that effectively meets the individual clinical needs of students throughout the entire school day. The Thompson Center offers services in a Supportive program designed to deal with students whose behavior is characterized by poor peer relationships, poor social skills, poor stress coping skills, or symptoms of depression or anxiety. Services are also provided in a Directed program for students characterized by verbal or physical aggression, intimidation, bullying, defiance, and noncompliance. The Thompson Instructional Center uses a highly structured token economy system with appropriate therapeutic intervention and a myriad of sound educational and behavioral strategies to enable the students to benefit from their placement and make progress towards returning to a regular educational setting.